December 13 coronavirus news

By Jenni Marsh, James Griffiths, Amy Woodyatt, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, December 14, 2020
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1:12 p.m. ET, December 13, 2020

Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can now be administered in the US, CDC director says

From CNN's Maggie Fox, Jamie Gumbrecht and Ben Tinker

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing on November 19 in Washington, DC.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing on November 19 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield has accepted the recommendation of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine may be given to people ages 16 and older.

This means that shots can now be administered in the United States.

On Saturday: ACIP committee members voted in favor of the recommendation, and to add the vaccine to the CDC’s immunization schedule.

On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine.

Pfizer began shipping its vaccine on Sunday, with first shots in arms expected Monday morning.

12:36 p.m. ET, December 13, 2020

New Jersey to administer its first Covid-19 vaccines Tuesday in Newark

From CNN's Laura Ly

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan on December 13.
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan on December 13. Morry Gash/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

New Jersey will administer its first Covid-19 vaccines on Tuesday morning at University Hospital in Newark, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Sunday.

The state’s first 76,000 doses will be for health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff, Murphy said.

Murphy will visit the hospital on Tuesday with Judith Persichilli, the state’s health commissioner, Shereef Elnahal, University Hospital president, and Dr. Robert Johnson, dean of Rutgers Medical School. Vaccinations will be administered during the governor’s visit, according to a news release from Murphy’s office.

University Hospital in Newark has created a “Covid-19 vaccine clinic” in anticipation of the pending vaccine shipment and has the potential of administering at least 600 vaccines per day, the release stated.

12:10 p.m. ET, December 13, 2020

Stimulus talks are going slow and Democrats are still demanding state and local aid, sources say

From CNN's Manu Raju

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Despite the optimistic talk this morning on the Sunday shows, relief talks are going slow and Hill leaders are still far apart on the stimulus, sources in both parties said this morning.

Democrats have not yet dropped their demands for state and local aid, which Republicans have resisted.

And even though senators in the bipartisan group this morning promised to release bill text tomorrow on their $908 billion proposal, they still do not have a deal — and are still struggling to get a deal on liability protections for businesses and others, sources said.

What happens next: Six senators are having calls this afternoon to try to reach an accord on the liability issue after struggling for weeks.

Ultimately it will be up to congressional leaders to decide which provisions will be included in the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill to keep the government funded past Friday.

Congressional leaders remain at odds, however, on what provisions should be added.

11:25 a.m. ET, December 13, 2020

White House vaccine chief on Pfizer vaccine: "It's a very good day for America, and for the world"

From CNN's John Bonifield

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, speaks at the White House on November 13 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, speaks at the White House on November 13 in Washington, DC. Evan Vucci/AP

Moncef Slaoui, the head of the US government's effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, Sunday congratulated Pfizer and BioNTech for delivering a coronavirus vaccine.

"It's a very good day for America, and for the world," Slaoui told Fox News today.

Slaoui said he hopes the US will achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 in May or June.

"We need to have immunized about 75 or 80 percent of the US population before herd immunity can be established," Slaoui said. "We hope to reach that point between the month of May and the month of June."

He said it is critical that Americans decide to take the vaccine, and said he is very concerned about the level of vaccine hesitancy he is witnessing.

"We hope that now that all the data is out and available to be discussed in detail that people will keep their mind open, to listen to the data, and hopefully agree that this is a very effective and safe vaccine, and therefore take it," Slaoui said.

10:28 a.m. ET, December 13, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine is being studied in children now, FDA chief says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, said "studies are being planned or in progress now" regarding coronavirus vaccine for children younger than 16.

He declined to give a direct answer when asked when the vaccine might be available for children.

“As soon as possible, obviously with great speed,” Hahn said. “Sometimes there are gaps in information, and we have to fill those gaps in information after something like an emergency use authorization to get the answers to the questions that you’re asking.”

10:41 a.m. ET, December 13, 2020

GOP senators say bipartisan group's stimulus bill will be released tomorrow

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Sen. Bill Cassidy speaks with CNN on Sunday, December 13.
Sen. Bill Cassidy speaks with CNN on Sunday, December 13. CNN

GOP Senator Bill Cassidy told CNN that the bipartisan stimulus bill will be introduced Monday night. 

“We are going to introduce a bill tomorrow night,” Cassidy said, "the leadership can discard it, I can govern that.”

“There will be a deal,” Cassidy told CNN. 

Democratic senator from West Virginia Joe Manchin also said in an interview on Fox News that the bipartisan group’s bill will be released Monday.

“You will see a complete bill tomorrow before the end of the day,” Manchin said.

Manchin added that negotiations “haven’t fallen apart,” despite concerns on Friday that the group was struggling to finalize a deal. Manchin said the group has been talking over the weekend, and will have another call today. 

However, Manchin also noted that there is “no guarantee” that the bill they present will be passed by Congress. 

“There is no way, no way, that we are going to leave Washington without taking care of the emergency needs of our people,” Manchin said. 

 Watch:

9:53 a.m. ET, December 13, 2020

Top House Democrat signals he'd accept a slimmed down stimulus deal 

From CNN's Ben Geldon

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer told CNN that he spent the weekend in talks with House and Senate members on an economic rescue package, and signaled he’d accept a deal that doesn’t include state and local aid.

“The speaker [Nancy Pelosi] and I spent a lot of time on the phone together. And I am very hopeful that next week, we will be able to act on substantial relief,” Hoyer said.  

Hoyer acknowledged that the Democrats will not get everything they want, saying there will be “trade-offs and give and takes.”  

“We are not going to get everything we want. We think state and local is important. And if we can get that we want to get it. But we want to get aid out to the people who are really, really struggling and are at grave risk," he said.

##Stimulus#

9:42 a.m. ET, December 13, 2020

FDA chief says it's his "greatest hope" that Covid-19 vaccinations start in the US on Monday 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

US Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, said he hopes that Covid-19 vaccinations are administered to Americans on Monday.

“We’ve seen the vaccines go out, we’ve seen the press reports of hospitals waiting to vaccinate healthcare workers and those most vulnerable according to the recommendations of the [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] and the CDC,” Hahn told CNN. “So, it would be my greatest hope and desire that [they] occur tomorrow.”

10:34 a.m. ET, December 13, 2020

FDA commissioner says "we'll be hearing very soon" from CDC director on the Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, speaks with CNN on Sunday, December 13.
US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, speaks with CNN on Sunday, December 13. CNN

US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, told CNN that he doesn’t know why Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has not yet accepted the recommendation of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which voted Saturday to recommend the CDC approve the vaccine for use in the US. 

“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Hahn told CNN on Sunday. “I do know I’ve had a lot of conversations with director Redfield and he is certainly on top of this, and has a lot of confidence in the process, particularly with the ACIP.”

“I’m sure we’ll be hearing very soon about this,” Hahn said.

 

Watch: