CNN reported on Sunday that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr Robert Redfield has accepted an advisory committee’s recommendation that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine may be given to people aged 16 years and older, paving the way for shots of the vaccine to be given to the public in the USA.The decision comes as the first batch of vaccines was loaded onto trucks at a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, and shipped out across the country. Freight trucks carrying about 184,275 vials of vaccine left the plant, and the combined 189 boxes of vaccine vials are expected to arrive in all 50 states on Monday. Another 3,900 vials are expected to ship later Sunday to United States territories, and 400 boxes packed with about 390,000 vials will be shipped on Monday to be delivered on Tuesday, 15 December 2020. According to Pfizer, there are five doses of vaccine per vial.
From Michigan, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be delivered to about 600 venues across the United States in the next few days.”It’s a very good day for America, and for the world,” Moncef Slaoui, head of the coronavirus vaccine efforts in the United States, told Fox News on Sunday.The FDA granted emergency use authorisation to the vaccine on Friday, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted on Saturday to recommend it for people aged 16 years and above.
Peter Marks, the head of the FDA’s office that oversees vaccines, said in a statement: “With science guiding our decision-making, the available safety and effectiveness data support the authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine because the vaccine’s known and potential benefits clearly outweigh its known and potential risks,”
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The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a landmark scientific achievement, built from a breakthrough technology in a short space of time, amidst a pandemic that has affected millions of people across the Globe. It has already been approved by regulators in the UK, Canada as well as other countries.
Pfizer’s chief executive officer, Albert Bourla said in a statement: “We have worked tirelessly to make the impossible possible, steadfast in our belief that science will win,”
“As a US company, today’s news brings great pride and tremendous joy that Pfizer has risen to the challenge to develop a vaccine that has the potential to help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”
President Donald Trump called it “one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history” in a video on Twitter, saying the vaccine will save millions of lives and end the pandemic.
It will be sometimes before the vaccine can reach developing countries with minimal resources. In the meantime, those countries will have to rely on existing prevention measures such as masks, sanitisation and social distancing, while they await their turn to get the vaccine.