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US Poised for COVID-19 Vaccine as Cases Soar, Businesses Struggle

This photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. (AP File)

One day before the FDA considers granting emergency authorization for Pfizer's vaccine in the US, newly released data shows its effectiveness.

The UK has already given the green light to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and began rolling out the shots on Tuesday.

A 90-year-old grandmother was the first to receive the shot. "I'm spending Christmas with four of my family members," said Margaret Keenen. "But I'm just looking forward to Christmas, yes I am."

The Food and Drug Administration recently unveiled its analysis of data from Pfizer showing the vaccine's impact in trials. Of those given a placebo, 162 people contracted the virus, but only eight people who got the vaccine were infected.

At his vaccine summit at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order giving Americans 'first priority' for US-made COVID-19 vaccines, before they're shipped off to other countries. 

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And the Trump administration already contracted with Pfizer to provide at least 100 million doses in the next few months in the US.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is outlining steps he would take to control the virus in his first 100 days in office.

"At least, 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people," Biden said Tuesday.  "In the first 100 days, 100 million shots, in the first 100 days." 

Biden is also pledging to sign an order requiring masks in all federal buildings and will push to see most schools in the country open again.

Across the nation, new cases of the coronavirus are soaring, and states are imposing more restrictions to stop the spread. 

In California, the number of hospitalizations is around 10,000, with space and supplies now limited. New stay-at-home orders ban indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants and impose restrictions on social get-togethers.

Businesses are struggling to survive, especially during the holiday season.

"This is the busiest time of the year for restaurants," said John Thiel, Chef-Owner at Pappo Restaurant.  "But generally speaking, I would say a lot of people would normally be getting together or having holiday parties. So, we've lost all of our private party business. We've lost all catering business."

Tuesday, a California judge ruled the ban on outdoor dining is 'arbitrary', but the three-week lockdown order still prevents restaurants from opening.

California churches are pushing back against prohibitions on indoor services. 

Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver is arguing a case on behalf of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena.

"These restrictions of no worship that cover 99 percent of California actually go as far back as July the 13th," Staver told CBN News. "And the no worship also includes no worship in your home or Bible study in your home with anyone who doesn't live there."

Meanwhile, the FDA says Pfizer's COVID vaccine is safe and effective. But some trial participants warn of intense symptoms after the second shot including chills, headaches, and fatigue. The FDA is set to meet Thursday to consider granting emergency authorization. 

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