The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday.
With the decision, the US becomes the sixth country after Britain, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico – to clear the vaccine for emergency usage.
The outgoing US President Donald Trump said the US would start administering the vaccine “in less than 24 hours”.
In a video statement, POTUS said: “Our nation has achieved a medical miracle. We have delivered a safe and effective vaccine in just nine months.”
He added that the doses of vaccines had already started to be shipped and that he expected the first person to be vaccinated within 24 hours — though his health secretary Alex Azar earlier said it was likely to happen on Monday.
Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, said in a statement: “The FDA’s authorisation 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.”
The US could start injecting the first Americans with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by Monday, the country’s health secretary said.
Alex Azar in a statement to a news channel said that final details were being ironed out after an expert committee convened by regulators voted to grant the two-dose regimen emergency approval for people aged 16 and over.
Azar told ABC News that authorities were working with Pfizer on logistics and “we could be seeing people get vaccinated Monday, Tuesday of next week”.
“So, it’s very close. It’s really just the last dotting of I’s and crossing of T’s,” he added. Those outstanding matters include getting a fact sheet ready for doctors, Azar said while talking to Fox Business.