In what has been dubbed “V-Day” or “Victory Day,” The United Kingdom began COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday morning using the vaccine created by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. The first recipient was grandmother Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week. She received the shot just after 6:30 a.m., local time. The first 800,000 doses will go to frontline health workers, persons over 80, and nursing home workers and will be administered in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Buckingham Palace refused to comment on reports that Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, would be vaccinated as a public example of its safety.
White House to hold COVID-19 summit as FDA considers vaccine approval
President Donald Trump is set to kick off a summit at the White House Tuesday to highlight the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine he is eager to take credit for, despite criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The summit, designed to provide an update on the status of the administration’s ambitious plan to vaccinate all Americans against the coronavirus, comes two days before the FDA advisory committee will meet to review Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for emergency authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine. Distribution is expected to begin within 24 hours of authorization. Pressure is mounting for the FDA to move faster on approving the emergency use of the two vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna before Trump leaves office on Jan. 20.
Deadline arrives in longshot bid to nix Biden win in Pennsylvania
Thanks to a weekend deadline change, the Supreme Court could take action Tuesday in Republican Rep. Mike Kelly’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election in Pennsylvania. The high court on Sunday moved up the deadline for Pennsylvania officials to respond to the suit from Wednesday to Tuesday. That schedule change was significant because Tuesday is the cutoff for states to resolve any election disputes, known as the “safe harbor” deadline under federal election law. Kelly’s longshot appeal claims that the 2019 state law that authorized universal mail-in voting violated the state’s constitution. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the suit last month.
Civil rights leaders to discuss appointees with Biden, Harris
Leaders of civil-rights organizations plan to meet Tuesday with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to discuss how to increase diversity in the appointments to Cabinet-level seats and other top administration posts. Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League, said he and leaders of other organizations will discuss racial equity and social justice with Biden and Harris. Civil rights activist and MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton also will be in attendance. The meeting will come a day after multiple reports indicated Biden will nominate retired four-star Army general Lloyd J. Austin to be secretary of defense. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin will be the first Black leader of the Pentagon. Sharpton called Austin a “good choice that I think many in the civil rights community would support.” But he added that while it is “a step in the right direction,” it is not “the end of the walk.”
Lamar Jackson expected to return to action as Ravens host Cowboys
For the second time this season, the NFL will play a game on a Tuesday as the Baltimore Ravens host the Dallas Cowboys in a matchup that was supposed to happen last Thursday, but got pushed back due to the Ravens’ rash of positive COVID-19 tests last month. The Ravens are expected to activate star quarterback and 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson from the COVID-19/reserve list ahead of the game and he will start, according to multiple reports. Jackson, who tested positive for COVID-19, was one of 17 Ravens players to miss last Wednesday’s loss to their AFC North rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a high-profile game that was supposed to anchor the league’s Thanksgiving Day schedule. Jackson’s return is important for a team that has lost three consecutive games and is currently outside the playoff picture after being the No. 1 seed in the AFC in 2019.