DORAL, FL – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will most likely approve Pfizer’s vaccine against the coronavirus, which means people could start getting vaccinated next week.
According to USA Today, the FDA is trying to issue an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Friday evening.
The New York Times says the emergency use authorization could arrive on Saturday with the possibility of an approval happening on Sunday or later due to bureaucratic requirements.
“We could see people getting vaccinated Monday, Tuesday of next week,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on ABC’s “Good Morning America”, as reported by the media.
The news comes after an F.D.A panel of experts suggested the agency to authorize the vaccine. The panel is integrated by independent scientific experts, infectious disease doctors and statisticians who, according to the New York Times, voted 17 to 4 in favor of emergency authorization for people 16 and older.
It’s very common for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to follow the panels advice. If this is also the case, mass vaccinations could begin for hundreds of thousands of frontline heath care workers and nursing home residents.
In Florida, it was already announced first in line would be long-term care residents following broader senior population and healthcare workers.
The initial shipment of 6.4 million doses will leave warehouses within 24 hours of being cleared by the F.D.A., according to federal officials, as reported by the NYT. “About half of those doses will be sent across the country, and the other half will be reserved for the initial recipients to receive their second dose about three weeks later.”
“With the high efficacy and good safety profile shown for our vaccine, and the pandemic essentially out of control, vaccine introduction is an urgent need,” Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said at the meeting of the panel on Thursday.
Pfizer’s vaccine was already approved and given in Bahrain and Britain, where it was authorized on Dec. 2, while Canada approved it on Wednesday.