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Live from NPR news I’m Jeanine Herbst.

New data from Israel shows that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is very effective when used in actual practice not only in clinic trials. NPR’s Richard Harris reports on a study in the New England journal of medicine.

All eyes are on Israel because it’s leading the world in vaccinating its population, its highly centralized health system also makes it easy to follow what happens as vaccines are deployed. A lot of this information gets released informally as press releases. But scientists are always eager to see more credible peer reviewed findings and those are now available for about 600,000 Israelis who received the vaccine in December and January. The study compared those people to a similar group that hadn’t yet been vaccinated, and showed that after two doses, the vaccine was more than 90% effective. That matches the results from the test used to approve the vaccine, and it shows the shot works well in actual practice. Richard Harris NPR news.

The Biden administration plans to distribute millions of face masks to people in underserved communities that had been hit hard by the corona virus. More than 25 million masks for adults and children will be distributed through food banks and food pantry system, and federally qualified community health centers.

The US Census Bureau estimates that close to 1 in 5 adults around the US have received a covid-19 vaccine, NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang reports the estimates are based on an ongoing national survey about whether households plan to get vaccinated.

More than 77,000 households responded to the household poll survey on line after receiving a text message or an email from the Census Bureau. Based on responses from the first half of February, Alaska tops the list as the state with the highest share of adult who have received a covid-19 vaccine, a close to 1 in 3 residents 18 or older. Nationwide a little over half of adults who have not been vaccinated yet said they will definitely get one when they can, interests in getting a shot is lowest among the states in Wyoming, where just over 1/3 of adults who are unvaccinated said they will definitely get a shot when available. Hansi Lo Wang NPR news New York.

With long term facilities for immigrant children full, the Biden administration has reopened an emergency facility at the southern border, to hold up to 17 children aged as 13-17, that’s drawing renewed scrutiny, the facility was opened under the Trump administration, before he was elected President, Biden criticized the Trump administration over that facility, still White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki today defended the decision.

“What we are doing is working as quickly as possible to process these kids into these HHS(health and human service) facilities, which have been revamped, which have medical and educational services available, so that we can then transfer them to families.”

The Biden administration says it’s working to expedite getting the children to relatives or sponsors in the US, and it’s authorized the use of contractors to transport the children if the sponsors or relatives can pay.

Wall Street higher by the closing bell, this is NPR news.

New home sales rose sharply last month as the housing market remains strong with low mortgage rates and little supply. The Commerce Department says home sales surged 4.3% in January, for an annual adjusted rate of 993,000 homes sold, that’s more than economists were looking for. The median price of a new home sold in January 346,400 dollars, that’s up more than 5 % from a year ago.

The essential workers at meatpacking plants in several states will soon be getting the covid vaccine. Adam Rayes from member station KUNC in Northern Colorado reports, workers in one plant that saw a large outbreak are eager to get their shot.   

During Colorado’s next vaccine phase, workers at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley will have an opportunity to get vaccinated during a 2 day mass shot clinic at the plant next week. Kim Cordova is president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7

“We are hoping that we could get at least 5,000 vaccines done, but again that’s really depends on how many folks want the vaccine, how many are available.”

The vaccine push comes almost a year after the plant’s first rise of outbreak, since then hundreds of workers have been infected, 6 died, and the company was hit with a federal fine. JBS and the Union are working with the State Health Department and the National Guard to run the vaccination site. For NPR news I’m Adam Rayes in Greeley.

And on Wall Street today the Dow gained 424 points to close at 31,961, the NASDAQ was up 132 points at 13,597, the S&P500up 44.

I’m Jeanine Herbst NPR news.
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