The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it would work rapidly toward finalizing and issuing an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
A panel of outside advisers to the FDA on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to endorse the emergency use of the vaccine, paving the way for the agency to authorize the shot for a country that has lost more than 285,000 lives to COVID-19.
The agency has also notified the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed so that they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution.
On ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday morning, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the vaccine will be approved and FDA officials are just working out some of the details.
The vaccine could be administered in the U.S. as early as Monday, he said.
Azar told ABC that up to 20 million Americans will receive the shot by the end of the month, with up to 50 million getting it by the end of January. By the end of February, he said, “we could have 100 million vaccinations in arm.”
In the United Kingdom, distribution of the Pfizer vaccine began on Tuesday, with the elderly and frontline health care workers getting the first dosages.
After two National Health Service workers who received the vaccine experienced allergic reactions, UK health officials advised those with a history of “significant” allergies to medicines or food to avoid getting the Pfizer shot.
On Wednesday, Canadian health regulators also approved the vaccine for use.
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