FDA Panel Endorses Distribution of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) — which is composed of independent doctors, scientists, and experts — endorsed an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for widespread use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. This development comes as the U.S. faces the deadliest period of the pandemic to date.

Pfizer, which produced the vaccine in partnership with BioNTech, began shipping 2.9 million doses to 636 sites across the country on Sunday, December 13, 2020. Distribution of the vaccine began this morning, December 14th, with first doses given to healthcare workers and nursing home staffers. Pfizer said another 2.9 million doses will be released shortly after this first batch.

The endorsement and rollout of the vaccine follows an approved recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The recommendation comes from an independent panel of scientific advisors — the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The FDA will hold a hearing on December 17th with Moderna, which has also developed an mRNA-based vaccine, before potentially issuing emergency authorization for deployment of its vaccine.

The approved COVID-19 vaccine will likely still require months before distribution will reach the general public. Organizations should plan for the coronavirus pandemic to continue, and await more guidance for what a COVID-19 vaccine authorization will mean for workplaces. In the meantime, follow the CDC’s recommendations to keep yourself and those around you safe by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands with soap and water.  

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