Daily US Times: Pfizer’s Covid vaccine faces one final hurdle as it races to become the first shot greenlighted in the US: a panel of experts who will scrutinize the company’s vaccine-related data for any red flags.
Thursday’s meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine advisory panel is likely the last step before a US decision to begin shipping millions of doses of the vaccine, which has shown strong protection against the Covid-19.
The FDA panel functions like a science court that will pick apart the data and debate — in public and live-streamed — whether Pfizer’s Covid vaccine is effective and safe enough to be cleared for emergency use. The non-government experts specialize in vaccine development, medical statistics and infectious diseases. The FDA is expected to follow the committee’s advice about the vaccine, although it is not required to do so.
The FDA’s decision comes as the Covid infections continues surging across much of the world, claiming more than 1.5 million lives, including more than 289,000 in the United States alone.
Hanging over the meeting is a warning from officials in the UK that people with a history of serious allergic reactions should not get the vaccine. Government officials there are investigating two reports of reactions that occurred when the country began mass vaccinations.
Still, a positive recommendation and speedy US approval seem nearly certain after FDA experts issued an overwhelmingly positive initial review of the vaccine earlier this week.
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