The United States has taken an important step in its fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic, with a federal advisory panel at the Food and Drug Administration recommending that Pfizer’s vaccine be approved for use.
The FDA is expected to accept the recommendation and formally approve the emergency use of the vaccine from Friday onwards.
Majority of Experts Vote to Approve Vaccine
17 members of the advisor panel voted for approval, with just 3 votes against the Pfizer drug and 1 vote withheld. Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine is now set to receive regulatory approval for patients 16 years and older.
Front-line workers in the fight against the Coronavirus will be the first to receive vaccine doses. This includes health care workers and residents of nursing homes. The elderly are particularly susceptible to serious complications of the Coronavirus.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), which developed the drug with German company BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX), is pleased that the panel voted in favor of approval. In a statement released on Thursday evening, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that “We are pleased with the strong majority vote, and if the FDA issues an authorization, stand at the ready to bring this vaccine to people.”
Pfizer is already in the process of distributing vaccines to other nations. The United Kingdom authorized its use at the beginning of December. 40 million doses have been ordered by the United Kingdom, which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people with two doses each.
The FDA has been criticized for taking longer to verify the research compared to British regulators.
How Effective is the Coronavirus Vaccine?
According to the research submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech, data from 43,448 trial participants reveals that the vaccine is 95% effective in building immunity. Partial protection is created as early as 12 days after the first dose. Doses are spaced 21 days apart, with each patient requiring two doses for immunity.
News Comes at Crucial Moment in Coronavirus Battle
Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that 200 American hospitals had hit full capacity last week. In one-third of hospitals, 90% of the available ICU beds were occupied. Coronavirus patients represented almost half of all ICU beds.
Medical professionals predict that the numbers will get worse, especially with the holiday season approaching where people are more likely to gather in groups.
Yesterday, the single-day death toll hit 3,124. This is the highest it has ever been, and total deaths are now approaching 300,000. The approval of a vaccine could not come at a better time, but the impact of this may not be seen for months to come.
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