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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at temperatures well below freezing, and while large, urban hospitals are rushing to buy expensive ultra-cold freezers to store it, many rural hospitals can't afford them, STAT reports.

The big picture: A review of states' vaccine distribution plans found that many aren't ready to deal with the challenge of delivering the shots, per ProPublica.

  • Health officials also must navigate the fact that Pfizer is expected to deliver the shots in boxes holding 1,000 to 5,000 doses.
  • Needing to quickly administer this many doses "could rule out sending the vaccine to providers who don’t treat that many people, even doctors' offices in cities," ProPublica reports.
  • "It's especially challenging in smaller towns, rural areas and Native communities on reservations that are likely to struggle to administer that many doses quickly or to maintain them at ultracold temperatures."

The bottom line: "Early, when we don’t have lots of doses, I frankly do not anticipate that vaccine will be widely available in every rural community," Amanda Cohn, chief medical officer for the CDC's Vaccine Task Force, said during a call on vaccine implementation earlier this month, per ProPublica.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Updated Feb 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 3 Americans know someone who died from COVID-19 — Axios-Ipsos poll: Biden's window of opportunity on COVID — Nursing home COVID cases have drastically declinedU.S. death toll tops 500,000.
  2. Vaccine: Pfizer and Moderna expect to double vaccine shipments by spring — Fast-spreading misinformation on COVID vaccine and infertility worries health experts — Modified vaccines for variants would not require large clinical trials, FDA says.
  3. Economics: Small businesses say even second round of PPP loans not enoughU.S. growth expectations are going through the roof.
  4. Local: Denver breaks from Colorado's vaccine plan Twin Cities and some Midwest metros fare better economically than rest of U.S. — Federal vaccine distribution arriving in Tampa.
  5. World: Boris Johnson unveils roadmap to fully reopen England's economy by June.