Biden says FDA panel vote on Pfizer vaccine a ‘bright light in a needlessly dark time’
President-elect Joe Biden called a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel’s endorsement of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Thursday a “bright light in a needlessly dark time.”
“We are grateful to the scientists and researchers who developed this vaccine. And, we are grateful to the scientists and public health experts who evaluated the safety and efficacy of this vaccine free from political influence. The integrity of science led us to this point,” Biden said in a statement shortly after the panel’s vote.
The federal panel of outside experts endorsed the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech and recommended that FDA grant it emergency use authorization, though the agency still has to approve it. Biden’s initial statement inaccurately characterized the development as “approval by the Food & Drug Administration.”
The Biden transition team subsequently issued a revised statement noting that the FDA panel recommended the vaccine be granted emergency use authorization.
The advisory panel voted 17-4 in favor of approving the vaccine, with one abstention. The FDA is not bound to follow their recommendation but is widely expected to do so.
The development is a key marker in the battle against COVID-19, which to date has infected more than 15.5 million Americans and killed more than 290,000. The U.S. recorded more than 3,000 deaths due to the coronavirus in a single day Wednesday, which Biden acknowledged in his statement Thursday.
“Yesterday marked another tragic milestone in our fight against COVID-19. Jill and I grieve with everyone mourning a loved one lost to this deadly virus,” Biden said.
Biden, who will be inaugurated in 41 days and take over the federal response to the virus, emphasized the need to scale up manufacturing and distribution in order to achieve his goal of distributing 100 million doses of vaccine in the first 100 days of his administration.
“As we mark this important milestone, we know it didn’t have to be this bad. My administration will manage a robust and aggressive plan to contain this virus starting on day one,” Biden said. “My first 100 days won’t end COVID-19, but we can and will slow the spread of the disease while we manufacture and distribute this vaccine.”
Biden has said he will ask all Americans to wear a mask in the first 100 days and has discouraged Americans from traveling during the holidays in order to prevent the further spread of the virus, which is currently surging across the country.
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