FDA Panel Approves Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use

Drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech have cleared a major hurdle with a vote on Thursday by an FDA panel in favor of their Covid-19 vaccine, according to Gizmodo. The health experts voted 17 to 4 Thursday afternoon in favor of recommending the vaccine for emergency use for those at least 16 years old, according to CBS News. The first on the list to receive the vaccine will be front line workers, including healthcare professionals, as well as people who live in nursing homes.

While the FDA is expected to grant an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the FDA, said the panel’s endorsement is “nonbinding.” However, the FDA seldom ever votes against the recommendations of the health expert panels. If the FDA approves the vaccine next, a huge operation will kick into high gear nationwide with the goal of getting almost 3 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to drug stores and hospitals. 

“We’ve been working very closely with our state and local partners to make sure they have plans in place to identify providers that are able to receive, store and use the vaccine,” Dr. Anita Patel, deputy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, vaccine task force, said. 

An exact deadline for the FDA decision has not yet been publicized. The United Kingdom and Canada have already approved the Covid-19 vaccine. If it is quickly authorized by the FDA, New York could receive the vaccine as early as this weekend.