In a historic move on Friday afternoon, the FDA granted the first Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in individuals ages 16 and older. This allows for the first COVID-19 vaccine to begin being distributed country-wide; the first shipments started rolling out from Pfizer’s Michigan facility early Sunday morning. This historic authorization comes after roughly 12 months, 300,000 US deaths, and more than 1.5 million deaths globally.1
Over the next couple of weeks 2.9 million doses of the vaccine will be distributed across the United States, with 2.9 million doses withheld for the booster dose of the two-injection system. Additionally, as a precautionary measure, a supplemental 500,000 doses are being reserved in the event of any uncontrollable circumstances causing loss of product. According to the US Department of Defense, the decision about where the vaccine goes first and how much is sent is being made with state officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that health care workers and long-term care facilities receive the initial doses first.2
Although the regulatory requirements for an EUA are vague, only requiring evidence that the product may be effective and that its potential benefits outweigh potential risks, the agency wants to assure the public that this authorization comes after an extensive review of solid evidence. Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Director Peter Marks, who is the FDA’s top official overseeing vaccines, stated in a press conference Saturday morning that “The data provided by the sponsor have met the FDA’s expectations as conveyed in our June and October guidance documents. Efforts to speed vaccine development have not sacrificed scientific standards or the integrity of our vaccine evaluation process.”3
While this is certainly celebratory news to end a year that has been less than jubilant, there is still more work to do in the fight against COVID-19. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is next in line to be reviewed by the FDA, a second vaccine authorization would create even more chances to efficiently vaccinate the population. EMMA International has been staying on top of all the breaking COVID-19 news, including the unprecedented regulatory changes. Contact us at 248-987-4497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected with our team of experts today!
1Johns Hopkins University of Medicine (Dec 2020) Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center retrieved on 12/13/2020 from: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/
2Lopez, DOD News (Dec 2020) First COVID-19 Vaccine May be Distributed Next Week retrieved on 12/13/2020 from: https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2441740/first-covid-19-vaccine-may-be-distributed-next-week/
3FDA (Dec 2020) FDA Takes Key Action in Fight Against COVID-19 By Issuing Emergency Use Authorization for First COVID-19 Vaccine retrieved on 12/13/2020 from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-key-action-fight-against-covid-19-issuing-emergency-use-authorization-first-covid-19