After President Donald Trump pressured the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday, the agency on Saturday gave its approval for Pfizer’s vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“Get the dam vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Stop playing games and start saving lives.” Stephen Hahn is the US FDA chief.
Shots for health workers and nursing home residents are expected to begin in the coming days. However, initial doses will be scarce and rationed as the US joins Britain and several other countries in scrambling to vaccinate as many people as possible ahead of a long, grim winter.
While the FDA decision came only after public review of data, from a huge ongoing study, it has also been dogged by intense political pressure from the Trump administration, which has accused the agency of being too slow and even threatened to remove FDA chief Hahn if a ruling did not come out soon.
The move sets off what will be the largest vaccination campaign in US history – but it also has global ramifications because it’s a role model to many other countries facing the same decision.
Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine was developed in cooperation with Germany-based BioNTech. SOVEREIGNPH