The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has gotten its emergency authorization, thereby completing an unprecedented scientific race that could stop a pandemic that has killed almost 300,000 Americans.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the FDA’s decision to grant authorization for use of Pfizer/BioNTech SE’s vaccine will lead to a complicated immunization drive that will be launched across the country in the coming days. It said the first set of people to benefit from the vaccine are health-care workers and elderly ones in long-term care facilities.
The Head of the FDA’s office that oversees vaccines, Peter Marks, in a statement, said:
- “With science guiding our decision-making, the available safety and effectiveness data supports the authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, because the vaccine’s known and potential benefits clearly outweigh its known and potential risks.’’
US President, Donald Trump, in a video posted on Twitter said:
- “This is one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history. It will save millions of lives and soon end the pandemic once and for all.”
While pointing out that the US is the first country in the world to produce a verifiably effective vaccine, Trump also said that achievement is a reminder of America’s unlimited potential.
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The US health authorities, shipping services and hospitals are reported to be ready to immediately launch a mass-inoculation campaign of unparalleled dimension.
Millions of Americans could start getting vaccinated this month, especially with the expected emergency authorization of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine next week by the FDA.
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The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is reputed to be the only one among other frontrunners, that did not take funding from the White House-led Operation Warp Speed program to accelerate development, manufacturing and distribution of Covid-19 shots.
However, the two companies have secured a $2 billion deal to supply 100 million doses to the U.S., with an option for 500 million more.
It was reported that a Pfizer board member and former FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, in an interview earlier in the week, said the company had offered to sell to US more doses but was turned down.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, which was certified 95% effective in protecting people of all ages against the disease was first approved in the UK earlier this month and commenced mass vaccination a few days ago. Canada, who has also authorized the use of the vaccine, expects to start inoculation next week.
- However, the UK health regulator, said that there had been 2 reported cases of anaphylaxis and a reported case of possible allergic reaction since the rollout began.