The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine produced by New York-based Pfizer and German-based BioNTech. This is the final regulatory hurdle.
This is the fastest-developed vaccine in history, but doctors said it is safe and the process of working toward EUA has been methodical.
General Gustave F. Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Saturday the first shipments of the vaccine are expected to leave a facility in Michigan Sunday. The vaccines are expected to reach their predetermined sites Monday. There are 145 locations around the country expected to receive the vaccine.
“Make no mistake, distribution has begun,” Perna said.
You can watch the full Operation Warp Speed briefing in the player below:
Nearly one year after the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, was discovered in Wuhan, China, the light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic appears to be closer.
It’s been a year full of deaths, illness, lockdowns and loneliness, impacting lives in all areas from social interactions to the way people die. And in its path, a trail of economic devastation caused hardships for people across the globe.
While it will be a slow path toward a return to “normal life,” a vaccine has been what many in the U.S. and around the world have been waiting for.
A panel of independent scientists recommended approving the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, marking one of the last steps before the EUA.
“The FDA’s authorization for emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine is a significant milestone in battling this devastating pandemic that has affected so many families in the United States and around the world,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a statement.
The FDA held a briefing about the authorization Saturday morning. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks spoke at the briefing, expressing their faith in the FDA’s authorization process. You can watch the full briefing in the player below.