The news on the vaccine front is positive. The FDA has scheduled a special meeting for Dec. 10 to review the first vaccine for which Emergency Use Authorization is being sought, the vaccine created by the Pfizer and BioNTech. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, speaking on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday with fill-in host Brett Baier, said if the FDA approves the vaccine on Dec. 10, doses of the vaccine should be shipped out within 24-48 hours. Adams said the Moderna vaccine should be submitted for Emergency Use Authorization on Dec. 18.
In addition, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled an emergency meeting for tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. EST (9 a.m. HST) to discuss the allocation for a vaccine, once approved. The meeting will be online, and the public may attend virtually. For more on the meeting, its agenda, and how to attend, click here. Dr. Adams indicated those first to get the vaccine would include frontline workers and the most vulnerable.
Dr. Jerome Adams in Honolulu in August, with Lt. Gov. Dr. Josh Green in background
Fox News has reported that United Airlines is going to be flying special charter flights from a manufacturing facility in Brussels to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine distributed, if/once it is approved. According to the story, the FAA is allowing UAL to fly five times the normal amount of dry ice to keep the vaccine properly frozen, as it requires storage at -70 Celsius.
Pfizer has a Vaccine Distribution Fact Sheet online; click here for more information. Pfizer says it plans to make its Kalamazoo, Michigan plant the center for distribution. The Fact Sheet also says, while the vaccine must be shipped at ultra cold, minus 90 degree Fahrenheit, temperatures, it can be stored for up to a week in a standard refrigerator.
In August, the Federal Government agreed to purchase 100 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, with an option to purchase up to 400 million. On Nov. 16, Moderna announced its vaccine candidate will remain stable for 30 days in a standard refrigerator.
Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines have been thoroughly tested, by more people enrolled in their trials than in any prior vaccines for other conditions, according to Dr. Adams. He said “Safety has not been compromised.” Both are showing efficacy of better than 90%.
Two other vaccines are expected to follow close behind with request for an EUA, those made by AstraZeneca/Oxford University and by Johnson & Johnson.