Daily Dose: First fully tested COVID-19 vaccine administered; New CDC director named.

It’s been a historic day for the world and its struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Per Reuters, “A 90-year-old grandmother became the world’s first person to receive a fully-tested COVID-19 shot on Tuesday, as Britain began mass-vaccinating its people in a global drive that poses one of the biggest logistical challenges in peacetime history. Health workers started inoculating the most vulnerable with the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with the country a test case for the world as it contends with distributing a compound that must be stored at -70C (-94F).” Russia has already started their immunization drive, although their vaccine is still in Phase III testing. Either way, take that 2020. https://reut.rs/2IpRlai

In another positive bit of news that has implications for Pandemic 2020, the transition from the intransigent Trump Administration to a (hopefully) more competent Biden Administration has taken another step forward. The new CDC director has been named. Per Science, “President-elect Joe Biden has moved to fill two top health positions in his administration, his transition team announced today. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be nominated as secretary of health and human services (HHS), and HIV/AIDS researcher Rochelle Walensky of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital has been selected to direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” It is hoped that this director is less beholden to the whims of th White House. Becerra will probably have his work made out for him, not only closing out the COVID-19 pandemic but also rebuilding the confidence and reputation of the CDC. https://bit.ly/39N4Jke

We missed this the other day but feel it is significant enough that it needs citing… The Chinese Space Agency has continued to make strides by leaps and bounds. Per the Guardian, “A Chinese probe carrying samples from the lunar surface has successfully docked with a spacecraft orbiting the moon, in another space first for the nation, state media reported… The cargo capsule carrying lunar rocks and soil lifted off from the surface on Thursday and docked with the orbiter on Sunday morning, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the China National Space Administration.” The physical interaction by a lunar bound spacecraft and an orbiting one is very important. All long term plans for the moon — both as a source for mining and as a launch point for a longer voyage to Mars — entail a permanent orbiting base and smaller lunar missions. https://bit.ly/3qy3xHr

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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