The US government advisory panel has recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 be approved for use.
The Food and Drug Administration administration’s vote to recommend the vaccine’s approval represents the penultimate hurdle before the rollout of the biggest vaccination campaign in US history.
Depending on how fast the FDA signs off on the panel’s recommendation – which it is expected to do – jabs could begin within days.
The advisory group, in 17-4 vote with one abstention, voted to answer yes to the question: “Based on the totality of scientific evidence available, do the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine outweigh its risks for use in individuals 16 years of age and older?”
While millions of shots will be transported to begin vaccinating health care workers and nursing home residents as soon as the approval has been granted, widespread access to the general public is not expected until the spring.
With unprecedented interest in the normally obscure panel, the FDA broadcast the meeting live via Youtube, and thousands logged on.
“The American public demands and deserves a rigorous, comprehensive and independent review of the data,” said FDA’s Dr. Doran Fink, who said agency scientists had been working nights, weekends and over Thanksgiving to get that done.
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