The emergency authorization was signed by the FDA hours after the White House warned its director, Stephen Hahn, that he could prepare his resignation if he did not process it today.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the body that regulates the marketing of drugs, authorized this Friday the use of the vaccine against covid-19 from the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
This emergency authorization (an exceptional process prior to approval) was signed by the FDA hours after the White House warned the agency’s director, Stephen Hahn, that he could prepare his resignation if he did not process it today.
In a statement, Hahn said that “today’s decision follows an open and transparent review process that included input from independent scientists and public health experts and a thorough evaluation by the agency’s scientific professionals.”
The same night that the Supreme Court sank the last hopes of the outgoing president, Donald Trump, to reverse the result of the presidential elections, the president scored a victory with the authorization of the vaccine to which he has dedicated so much effort.
“Through our alliance with FedEx and UPS, we have already begun shipping the vaccine to every state and zip code in the country; the first vaccine will be administered in less than 24 hours,” Trump announced in a solemn speech from the Oval Office.
Trump explained that “governors decide where the vaccines go in their states and who will get them first.” “We want,” he added, “that our elderly, health and emergency workers are the first. That will quickly and dramatically reduce deaths and hospitalizations.” “When the virus from China invaded our coasts, I promised that we would produce a vaccine in record time before the end of the year, they said it could not be done, but with today’s announcement we have achieved that goal,” he said.
The vaccines that Trump announced are being distributed throughout the country are part of the first batch with 2.9 million doses that the officials in charge of the delivery operation assured that they could be sent in the first 24 hours after their authorization.
Pfizer has also promised 25 million doses before the end of the year (each vaccinated needs two doses) and to complete the 100 million acquired by the Trump administration in exchange for 1.95 billion dollars when March arrives.
Additionally, as early as next week the FDA could also authorize Moderna’s vaccine, doubling the country’s capacity to distribute and vaccinate its citizens. The authorities have insisted that anyone who wants to be vaccinated can do so before June 2021.
The United States thus becomes the sixth country in the world to authorize the Pfizer vaccine after the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico.
The authorization came after this Thursday a scientific advisory committee on vaccines to the FDA gave its approval with 17 votes in favor, only 4 against, and one abstention to the Pfizer vaccine.
Pfizer’s vaccine comes at the worst moment of the pandemic for the United States, which averages more than 200,000 infections a day and this week has broken the barrier of 3,000 deaths in a period of 24 hours.
The most recent data indicates that there are 15,834,965 infections and 294,874 deaths from covid-19, more than in any other country, according to the independent count from Johns Hopkins University.