The first two vaccines against Covid-19 could be administered in the US before Christmas, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday, after Moderna became the second vaccine maker likely to receive US emergency authorization.
The Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisers are expected to consider authorizing the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech on December 10. It could be approved and shipped within days, Azar said, and Moderna’s may follow one week later.
“So we could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas,” Azar said, speaking on CBS’ ‘This Morning’ program.
Moderna said earlier on Monday that it is the second vaccine maker applying to receive emergency authorization in the US.
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Azar said he and Vice President Mike Pence will talk with governors later on Monday to discuss the vaccine situation and which groups will get them first.
The federal government will ship the vaccines through its normal distribution system, and state governors will determine “which groups to be prioritized,” according to Azar.
I would hope that the science and the evidence will be clear enough that our governors will follow the recommendations that we will make to them.
However, Azar said last week that state governors will have final say on prioritization of vaccine doses, adding that the government will not wait for recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) before distributing the first shots.
He confirmed at the time that about 40 million doses of the vaccine will likely be available in December, first of all from Pfizer and Moderna.
Azar also revealed that shipments of the vaccine to individual states will be based on the size of adult populations there, rather than how many coronavirus cases they have.
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