Pfizer's COVID Vaccine Clears Final Hurdle Before FDA Authorization


The FDA’s advisory panel voted 17-4 to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use, clearing the way for its authorization and distribution nationwide.

After scouring over data during a multi-hour meeting on Thursday, the panel determined the vaccine was safe and voted to recommend approval.

Though the panel’s decision is merely an advisory one, the FDA is expected to heed its recommendation and approve Pfizer’s vaccine as early as Friday.

The agency touted the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness on Tuesday, a sign that it is prepared to swiftly grant emergency authorization following the panel’s recommendation.

Distribution could begin within 24 hours of FDA authorization, and vaccinations could begin as soon as next week.

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Pfizer said that vaccines could be shipped “within hours” of being granted approval and is standing by to distribute millions of doses from its plant outside Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.

The panel’s meeting was broadcast live on YouTube in hopes that full transparency would increase public confidence in the vaccine.

Confidence in possible COVID-19 vaccines hit a low point in late summer but has steadily increased throughout the fall, with 63 percent of Americans surveyed in November saying they would receive a vaccine.

Earlier this week, Canada authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use and the U.K. became the first country to embark on a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to end the coronavirus pandemic.

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Pfizer’s vaccine, developed with Germany’s BioNTech, will likely secure government approval only 11 months after the drugmakers began working on it, shattering all records related to vaccine development, authorization and distribution.

Pfizer last month released the results of clinical trials showing its vaccine to be safe and over 90 percent effective.

The United States has seen record case counts, hospitalizations and deaths in recent days. The virus has infected nearly 15.5 million Americans to date and killed over 290,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

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