Food and Drug Administration(FDA) in United States on Friday gave emergency use authorisation to the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine.
Scientists hope the vaccine will be a critical counteroffensive against a pathogen that has killed more than 290,000 Americans, shredded the nation’s social and political fabric and devastated the economy, reports Washington Post.
The historic authorization of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for people age 16 and older, just 336 days after the genetic blueprint of a novel coronavirus was shared online by Chinese scientists, sets in motion a highly choreographed and complex distribution process aimed at speeding vaccines throughout the United States to curb the pandemic.
FDA action came after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to be prepared to submit his resignation if the agency did not clear the vaccine by day’s end, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what happened.
Meadows’s threat followed months of efforts by FDA scientists to try to ward off President Trump’s importuning on the vaccine and keep the review process apolitical and transparent in hopes of boosting public confidence in the shots.
The FDA already had planned to clear the vaccine Saturday morning, and accelerating the authorization to Friday night was not expected to change the delivery timeline of the first shots.
The nation set a record for covid-19 deaths Thursday for the second day in a row, surpassing 3,300. The death tally for Friday was 2,950, only slightly lower, bringing the U.S. death toll to nearly 295,000.