US planning to distribute 6.4 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
- The US is planning to distribute 6.4 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in first tranche
- The vaccine would be distributed after it will be cleared for emergency use by FDA
- A committee of the Food and Drug Administration will meet on December 10
The United States is planning to distribute 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after it is cleared for emergency use, officials said on Tuesday. A committee of the Food and Drug Administration will meet on December 10 where it will decide on whether to green light the vaccine.
Nearly 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine would be available in the US by December end, said General Gustave Perna, chief operations officer for the government's Operation Warp Speed, AFP reported. The figure also includes vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes for Health.
Both Moderna and Pfizer last week announced that their vaccine is nearly 95% effective in preventing coronavirus infection and that they are applying for emergency approval.
The Pfizer vaccine has ultra-cold long-term storage requirements of -70 degrees Celsius for which the company has developed special containers with dry ice to keep it cool for up to 15 days.
The official said that 64 jurisdictions across the nation, including the 50 states, territories like the capital Washington and Puerto Rico and Indian reservations, received their allocation numbers on Friday.
The amount they receive will be proportionate to their population size, AFP reported.
The federal government will issue recommendations for who should be prioritised -- likely the elderly, high-risk, and frontline workers -- but local authorities will make the final decision for themselves.
Vaccinations will begin in retirement homes within 48 hours of the emergency approval, health secretary Alex Azar said. The government has partnered with CVS Health for this purpose.