FDA Advisory Committee Approves Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer COVID Vaccine

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A major step forward to getting Americans a COVID-19 vaccine was announced Dec. 11.  An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization for a Pfizer biontech vaccine.

But, it’s not the final step in the process, so how long before you could get the vaccine.

As COVID-19 continues to ravage the country, Americans getting a vaccine could stop the spread in its tracks.

From the FDA to the CDC, a committee there must also give the vaccine a green light.

And if that happens, “20 million people should get vaccinated in just the next several weeks,” explained Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. 

Here’s how Pfizer biontech says it’ll happen:

Within 24 hours of the FDA’s emergency authorization, much of the vaccine will be shipped from Pfizer’s facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, first going to hospitals and pharmacies nationwide that partnered with the federal government.

Next, health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities are at the top of the list to get the vaccine.

But, that timeline could depend on which state you live in. Take Illinois, for example.

‘Yes, there are a lot of people in the priority group. Yes, we want to get it to you. But no, it won’t happen on day one, week one or even week two. Patience will be the name of the game,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health:

Younger, relatively healthy, non-essential workers can expect “end of March, early April,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Once you get into April, probably full blast with those individuals.”

Some details are still being ironed out, but the goal is to make it as simple as getting a seasonal flu shot.

“They’ll come in at their scheduled time. They’ll meet with a pharmacist or technician. They’ll get their flu shot. They’ll get a record card with a vaccination they got, and we’ll also email them with that record,” explained Jonathan Roberts Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CVS Health.