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Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine by Michelle Chester in New York City. Photo: Mark Lennihan/Getty Images

One American became the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine outside of clinical trials yesterday, while another American became the virus' 300,000th victim in this country.

Why it matters: The milestones create an acute juxtaposition of the country's historic success in creating a vaccine for a new virus in record time, and its horrifying failure to control the pandemic in the meantime.

What we're watching: As millions of Americans get vaccinated in the coming weeks and months, thousands more will die, as the pandemic continues to be the worst its ever been.

  • The number of daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths is expected to only increase, as Americans continue to travel for the holidays and downplay the severity of the situation.
  • And yet, images of vaccines being given to health care workers across the country yesterday still serve as a reminder that there's a light at the end of this dark tunnel.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

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.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull — CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer — Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines.
  2. Vaccines: Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — America's vaccination drive runs out of gas.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  5. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  6. Variant tracker