On Friday, December 11, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. It had received a recommendation for such an action from its advisory panel the day before.
As of Friday, the fatality rate in the United States from the pandemic was above 285,000. It was since surpassed 300,000. Last Thursday alone there were more than 3,000 such deaths.
US based Pfizer asked the FDA that the vaccine be approved for use in people between the ages of 16 and 85. There were some dissenting voices in the advisory panel as to the lower end of that age range. Some members thought it would be best to keep young people aged 16 or 17 out of the emergency use group. But the final vote did approve use for the whole of the requested age range.
The initial price will be $19.50 a dose, for a two-dose regimen.
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Early this week, airplanes and trucks with the vaccine as cargo crossed the country. Since the quantity is still small relative to demand, distribution is for now limited to healthcare workers and to the residents of long-term care facilities. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the vaccine will be available to the general public by the middle of next year.