U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Friday said that the COVID-19 vaccination will likely start next week. He noted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is very close to granting emergency use authorization for the BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and
“I’ve got some good news for you here,” Azar told ABC’s Good Morning America. “Just a little bit ago the FDA informed Pfizer that they do intend to proceed towards an authorization for their vaccine.
Azar said the vaccination of the first Americans outside clinical trials could start on Monday or Tuesday.
“We will work with Pfizer and get that shipped out so we could be seeing people getting vaccinated Monday, Tuesday of next week,” Azar said.
NEW: HHS Azar says FDA will proceed with emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine and vaccinations could come as soon as Monday or Tuesday of next week. https://t.co/v1dsjMAvCK pic.twitter.com/48CGRJRTVs
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 11, 2020
The agency “has also notified the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed, so that they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution”, it said in a statement.
The development comes after a panel of outside advisers to the FDA on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to the emergency use of the vaccine.
Right after the FDA’s statement, President Donald Trump slammed the FDA for what he said was its slow handling of the vaccines. He also took a swipe at FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn.
Trump said “While my pushing the money drenched but heavily bureaucratic @US_FDA saved five years in the approval of numerous great new vaccines, it is still a big, old, slow turtle. Get the dam vaccines out now, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!”
While my pushing the money drenched but heavily bureaucratic @US_FDA saved five years in the approval of NUMEROUS great new vaccines, it is still a big, old, slow turtle. Get the dam vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2020
The United States would become the third country in the world to have authorized the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer in partnership with the German firm BioNTech.
Canada’s health regulator earlier approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, a day after the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to roll it out.
On Tuesday, 90-year-old U.K. grandmother Margaret Keenan was the first person in the world to be given the jab as part of a mass vaccination program.
Pfizer requested approval for the two-dose vaccine for use in people aged 16 to 85. Clinical trial results showed the vaccine to be 95 percent effective in preventing the disease.
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