Daily Video

December 11, 2020

News Roundup: FDA panel approves vaccine; Washington begins transition


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Have students record what they found most significant in the summaries and ask them what they’d like to learn more about. For a transcript of the video, click here

Summary of the top news: As the U.S. COVID-19 death toll topped 291,000, a panel of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration late Thursday endorsed the emergency use of a Pfizer vaccine to save lives for those who are 16 and older. It’s highly anticipated FDA approval would mean the biggest vaccination campaign could get underway in a matter of days. Even when approved, however, there will only be enough vaccine doses for a small fraction of the U.S. population. And there are questions about whether or not states are prepared to distribute the vaccine efficiently.

Also in the news:

  • COVID-19 spread related to Thanksgiving travel began to appear across the U.S. Authorities fear more holiday travel we result in a further spike well before a vaccine is distributed.
  • Newly elected members of Congress are starting to report to Washington, but won’t take office until the new year.
  • Many Republicans in Congress and elsewhere signaled support for a Texas lawsuit challenging the results of the presidential election and filed with the Supreme Court. The lawsuit claims that states accommodating voters beyond specific language by state legislatures makes votes from those states invalid, effectively nullifying the election. The Supreme Court has not yet taken up the case and few legal experts believe the Court would seek to overturn election results.


Warm up questions: 

  1. Who has approved a vaccine for use in the U.S.?
  2. What is the reason that vaccines must be tested before approval?
  3. Where and when are vaccines approved in the U.S.?
  4. Why does holiday travel cause COVID-19 spikes, and how can scientists determine the cause?
  5. How has President Trump tried to contest the results of the election?

Focus questions:

  1. How long do you think it will take for life to return to normal after a vaccine is distributed?
  2. Do you think some changes in society and daily life that occurred during the pandemic will be permanent?

Media literacy: What news do you think was most important from this summary? What important news are you aware of that was left out?

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