Afternoon Coffee: US hospitals prepare for COVID-19 vaccine shipments; Google suffers worldwide outage; No-deal Brexit likely

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Hospitals are working hard as they begin to receive the first US shipments of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine, according to Bloomberg News.

Shipments began leaving the Michigan plant early Sunday after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for emergency use on Friday. Shipments are scheduled to arrive at 145 sites Monday, 425 on Tuesday and the final 66 on Wednesday, the article said.

This round of 2.9 million shots will primarily go to healthcare workers and nursing home residents. Pfizer’s vaccine is being packed in specially made containers filled with dry ice to keep the formula at 94 degrees below Fahrenheit, the article reported. This vaccine is reliant on a specific cold chain and requires two doses.

“This is not a sprint, this is a marathon,” Mark Jarrett, the chief quality officer at New York-based Northwell Health, told Bloomberg. “Therefore, whether we deliver the first vaccine the day they arrive, depending on when they arrive, or next day, I think is less critical than making sure people are giving it in a safe fashion.”

Google services down early Monday as company faces worldwide outage

Google suffered a worldwide outage this morning, with failures reported across the company’s services like Gmail, Google Calendar and YouTube, according to The Guardian. The problem lasted about an hour, with service restored just before 8 a.m. US Eastern time.

The outages appeared to have affected the majority of Google’s services besides the search function, which seemed to work fine. It primarily seemed to be related to the company’s authentication tools, which manages how users log in to services run by both Google and third-party developers.

That meant that tools that do not work without logging in, such as Gmail and Google Calendar, were completely unavailable. Services like YouTube failed entirely for users who are already signed into a Google account. The outages disrupted services for many workplaces, the article said. Google Suite was down, affecting email communications, intra-officing messaging through the Chat and Meet services as well as the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides functions.

Brexit trade talks expire, UK and EU warn that no-deal Brexit ‘likely’

The United Kingdom and the European Union are warning once again that a no-deal Brexit is likely as they extend trade talks after missing Sunday’s deadline, according to CNN.

Talks were initially extended until Sunday after a meeting last Wednesday between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended without an agreement. No new deadline was announced after Sunday’s meeting. Von der Leyen said it’s responsible to go “the extra-mile,” saying she had a “constructive and useful” phone call with Johnson.

Meanwhile, Johnson said the two sides remain “far apart on key issues.”

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