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Home / Science / News /  COVID-19 vaccine: US says working to issue emergency authorization for Pfizer vaccine fast

The US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it would work rapidly toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization for Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine.

A panel of outside advisers to the FDA on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to endorse 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 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed so that they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution.

The FDA’s brief statement came less than an hour after President Donald Trump tweeted directly at FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, complaining that FDA “is still a big, old, slow turtle."

FDA staff have repeatedly said they expect to issue a decision within days of Thursday’s meeting. Many FDA observers predict action by Saturday ahead of a Sunday meeting by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The panel of CDC advisers will vote on who should get priority for the initial shots. Federal officials plan to allocate the first 6.4 million doses of the vaccine to states based on their population.

US experts endorse wide use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Shots could begin within days for U.S. health care workers and people in nursing homes.

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