The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it is working “rapidly” on finalizing its decision on issuing an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with over 90 percent effectiveness.
On Friday, FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn M.D. issued an update regarding the matter after an independent advisory committee made a positive recommendation to authorize the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to combat the pandemic.
The United States is in desperate need to start vaccinating its population as the daily increases in positive COVID-19 cases and deaths is alarming. For the first time on Wednesday, the nation recorded at least 3,055 deaths from the disease. Yesterday, the U.S. added 223,570 cases and 2,923 deaths. As of this writing, the country has 15, 645, 955 total positive cases and 292,611 deaths based on data from Johns Hopkins University.
The FDA is expected to release its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday and the vaccination could start as soon as Monday or Tuesday.
The U.S. could start COVID-19 vaccination next week
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is expecting the FDA’s authorization within days. He also stated that the federal government is working with Pfizer regarding the vaccine distribution.
“We could see people getting vaccinated Monday, Tuesday of next week,” said Sec. Azar.
According to federal officials, within 24 hours following FDA approval, 2.9 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed across the country. That is only 50% of the prepared doses. The other half is reserved for the people who were initially vaccinated so they can get the second required dose of the vaccine to get full protection from the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump criticized the FDA for taking too long in approving the COVID-19 vaccine. He called the agency “a big, old, slow turtle.”
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 Kingdom was the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and already started vaccinating its population. A 90-year-old woman, Margaret Keenan was the first person in the world to receive the vaccine.
Canada also approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for its population.
Have a story you want USA Herald to cover? Submit a tip here and if we think it’s newsworthy, we’ll follow up on it.
Want to contribute a story? We also accept article submissions – check out our writer’s guidelines here.