The US Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, on Friday, authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
“Based on the totality of scientific evidence available to FDA, it is reasonable to believe that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID‑19 vaccine may be effective in preventing COVID-19,” said the agency in a statement.
The action came hours after a report that President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has told FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to approve Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of the day or resign from this post.
The threat was reported by the Washington Post newspaper.
Shortly after the news, Trump posted a video on Twitter, saying the vaccine will be supplied free to all Americans and the first vaccine will be administered in less than 24 hours.
“The governors will decide where the vaccines will go in their states and who will get them first,” said the US president.
“We want our senior citizens, healthcare workers, and first responders to be first in line,” he added.
Trump said the vaccines will “quickly” reduce deaths and hospitalizations in the country, which has witnessed nearly 295,000 deaths. So far, 15.8 million people have been infected by the disease since January.
Earlier in the morning, the FDA said that after an advisory panel voted to recommend the Pfizer vaccine to receive the emergency greenlight, it has informed the manufacturer “that it will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization”.
“The agency has also notified the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Operation Warp Speed, so they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution,” it said.
The advisory panel overwhelmingly voted 17-4 to approve the novel mRNA vaccine for individuals, who are 16 and older.
Operation Wrap Speed is a public-private partnership initiated by the US government to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
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