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The rush is on in D.C. for a vaccine and relief before the end of the year

This is a critical week for the Covid-19 vaccine and for helping families and businesses devastated by the virus.

An FDA advisory panel is set to meet on Thursday. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chief Advisor for Operation Warp Speed, said if the Pfizer vaccine is granted emergency authorization it could begin being distributed the next day.

"36 hours from approval, potentially the first immunizations could be taking place", said Slaoui.

Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, said they will get the vaccine to those who need it most first.

"We're going to focus on those most vulnerable", said Azar, "And those most on the front lines of treating people."

Making the vaccine has turned out to be more difficult than expected, the government says manufacturing is six to eight weeks behind schedule.
And health experts say it's not clear if people who get the shot can still spread the virus.

The government's "Operation Warp Speed", designed to push out millions of doses quickly is scheduled to brief the Biden transition team this week. In the meantime Congress continues to try and push out financial relief to millions of Americans. Senator Joe Manchin said it is time to get a deal done.

"It's a deal that must come together", said Manchin, "We don't have a choice now."

The focus for Congress, people who are hungry and need help now. 12 million Americans could lose unemployment the day after Christmas. Small business loans are running out. Senator Bill Cassidy said the latest bill includes money to keep millions from being evicted at the end of the month.

"We are giving relief to the landlords on the condition that the person not be evicted," said Cassidy

The House is set to leave Thursday for the holiday break, the Senate, next week. The rush now on to bring relief to an ailing nation and get a vaccine out as soon as possible.

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