The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Friday issued authorization for emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.
The first Emergency Use Authorization was issued to the COVID-19 vaccine of American drugmaker Pfizer in partnership with German company BioNTech, allowing the vaccine to be distributed in the United States.
“The FDA’s authorization for emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine is a significant milestone in battling this devastating pandemic that has affected so many families in the United States and around the world,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
“Today’s action follows an open and transparent review process that included input from independent scientific and public health experts and a thorough evaluation by the agency’s career scientists to ensure this vaccine met FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization,” he said in a statement.
Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 70 million on Friday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The United States reported the most cases and deaths around the world as of 4:28 p.m. local time (2128 GMT), which stood at 15,758,661 and 293,785, respectively.
The Pfizer vaccine has already received regulatory approval in the UK, Canada, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Like those countries, the US will give its first doses of the vaccine to the elderly, health workers and emergency crew.