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Health Highlights: Dec. 22, 2020

By HealthDay Reporter

Below are newsworthy items compiled by the HealthDay staff:

EU Approves Pfizer COVID Vaccine

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved by the European Union (EU) on Monday and should soon be available in all 27 member nations.

Deliveries of the vaccine are expected to begin this weekend, with shots beginning across the EU between Dec. 27 and Dec. 29, the Associated Press reported.

"As we have promised, this vaccine will be available for all EU countries at the same time, on the same conditions," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. "This is a very good way to end this difficult year, and to finally start turning the page on COVID-19."

The vaccine is already being given to high-risk people in the United States and Britain, the AP reported.

NBA Should be Able to Complete New Season: Commissioner

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is confident the league can complete its planned 72-game regular season despite the surging coronavirus pandemic.

The league begins play on Tuesday with special health and safety protocols in place, but Silver did say he expects some problems, the Associated Press reported.

"I think we are prepared for isolated cases; in fact, based on what we've seen in the preseason, based on watching other leagues operating outside a bubble, unfortunately, it seems somewhat inevitable," Silver said Monday. "We're prepared for all contingencies."

It's possible that games could be postponed or canceled, and if there are issues that can't be controlled by the health and safety protocols, the season could be suspended, Silver told the AP.

Care Rationing Being Considered by California Hospitals

Plans for rationing lifesaving care are being considered by some hospitals in California as the state struggles with overwhelming numbers of COVID-19 patients.

California has more than twice as many hospitalized COVID-19 patients as it did at its previous peak in July, and models suggest there could be 75,000 patients by mid-January, the Associated Press reported.

In an attempt to deal with the deluge, hospitals are creating makeshift extra beds for COVID-19 patients, and four Los Angeles hospitals are considering what to do if faced with a shortage of beds or staff.

No plans for rationing care are in place, but could be needed because "the worst is yet to come," said Los Angeles County's health services director Dr. Christina Ghaly, the AP reported.

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