On Friday, Pfizer announced that they will seek emergency use authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine. If approved, a limited amount of the vaccine could begin being distributed as early as next month. This news follows the announcement that the vaccine is 95% effective.
As the holiday season approaches, COVID-19 case numbers are continuing to rise across the United States. The death toll in the US has surpassed 252,000, and hospitalizations are continuing to increase.
If the vaccine is approved, Pfizer estimates that it could have 50 million doses available before the end of the year. Of this number, about 25 million would be available for use within the United States in the month of December. Recipients of the vaccine need two doses administered three weeks apart. And with the US government contracted to buy millions of doses, shots are promised to be free.
Other competitors, such as Moderna, are expected to seek emergency authorization in the coming weeks as well. The data surrounding Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine suggests that it is just as strong as Pfizer’s.
If the vaccines are given emergency approval, those offered the vaccine must read through a fact sheet listing benefits and risks before receiving the shot. There will also be various restrictions on who can receive the vaccine. Those who are pregnant will not qualify, and the vaccine’s effectiveness in children has only recently been tested.