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U.K. begins first Pfizer coronavirus vaccinations

The first people in the United Kingdom were being inoculated for COVID-19 on Tuesday, as the nation began a mass roll-out of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

The big picture: The U.K. last week became the first Western nation to give emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine. Margaret Keenan, 90, was the first person in the U.K. to get vaccinated after receiving a dose in a hospital in Coventry, central England, per British media reports. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, "We will look back on today, V-day, as a key moment in our fightback against this terrible disease."

BREAKING: The UK's mass vaccination programme against Covid-19 has begun.
90-year-old Margaret Keenan is the first person to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
More on #BBCBreakfast and here: https://t.co/uHArc9LQVJ pic.twitter.com/ecxdeGRHfz

— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) December 8, 2020

Go deeper: In photos: How the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in 2020

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

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Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

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Scoop: CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

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Why it matters: The fact the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

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8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage amendment to COVID relief

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The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate is set to take up.

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CDC: Easing mask mandates, re-opening restaurants led to higher COVID cases, deaths

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.

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Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

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Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

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Public desire for vaccine increases to 69%, but with partisan divide

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

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China's highly anticipated 5-year plan is hazy on climate

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.

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