Fifty million people in U.S. to have first COVID-19 shot by end January - Azar

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination in in West Hartford, Connecticut
Mary Lou Galushko gives Jeanne Peters, 95, a rehab patient at The Reservoir, a nursing facility, the first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination at the nursing home, in West Hartford, Connecticut, U.S., December 18, 2020. Stephen Dunn/Pool via REUTERS

NEW YORK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - About 50 million people in the United States will have had the first of two COVID-19 shots needed for immunization by the end of January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday.

Azar was speaking at a press conference on the first day of shots of Moderna Inc.'s (MRNA.O) vaccine and the roll out of the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE (PFE.N), vaccine to nursing homes.

The first shots have been designated for healthcare workers and nursing homes. Azar said he expects the vaccines to be available through more general vaccination approaches, like in pharmacies or doctors' offices, in late February and into March.

Reporting by Michael Erman in New York and Manas Mishra in Bengalaru,

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