More than 50 front-line hospital workers at University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City were the first in the state to receive vaccinations today for COVID-19, UI Hospitals & Clinics announced. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, and is prioritized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. “This is an historic moment to change the course of the pandemic and we are proud of our role as leaders in this process,” said Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of UI Hospitals & Clinics and associate vice president of UI Health Care. Because of the limited number of doses initially available and allocated to UI Health Care, the first group of employees to be vaccinated are primarily front-line providers and staff working in the units that directly care for patients with COVID-19. The Iowa Department of Public Health will follow guidance as it becomes available from state advisory councils to determine additional priority populations as vaccine supply availability increases. Nearly 1,500 providers are signed up so far to administer the vaccine in Iowa, with about 20 to 40 new applications submitted each day. The American Lung Association has a COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker website with resources for the public to receive updates on vaccine availability status.