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CDC director accepts advisory panel's recommendation, clearing the way for vaccinations to begin

CDC director accepts advisory panel's recommendation, clearing the way for vaccinations to begin
© Washington Examiner/Pool

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has signed off on an advisory panel's recommendation to use Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in people 16 and older, clearing the way for inoculations to begin.

“As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the U.S., CDC’s recommendation comes at a critical time. Initial COVID-19 vaccination is set to start as early as Monday, and this is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans, reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and help restore some normalcy to our lives and our country,” Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldFauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House' US considering mandatory COVID-19 tests for domestic flyers, CDC official says CDC gets a second opinion: Seven steps to heal our COVID-19 response MORE said in a statement on Sunday. 

Redfield’s recommendation comes shortly after Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen HahnStephen HahnThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Biden's first official trip as president The Hill's Morning Report - With trial over, Biden renews push for COVID-19 bill How scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics MORE told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperEx-Trump press secretary criticized for stirring up QAnon on Twitter Maryland GOP governor says he would have voted to convict Trump Democratic senator defends decision not to call witnesses: 'They weren't going to get more Republican votes' MORE on Sunday morning that he was unsure why Redfield had yet to sign off on the authorization but expressed confidence in him.

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“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Hahn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I do know I’ve had a lot of conversations with Director Redfield and he is certainly on top of this and has a lot of confidence in the process.”

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend approval for the vaccine Saturday, although Redfield’s approval was required before the vaccine could be administered.

The panel recommended that health care providers monitor anyone with allergies for up to 30 minutes following the injection and that long-term care residents and health care workers be the first to receive the vaccine.

It also recommended that the second phase of inoculations comprise essential workers, people with underlying medical conditions and people older than 65.

The first shipments of the vaccine left Pfizer’s Michigan plant Sunday morning, with about 184,275 vials carried in 190 boxes. The plant is set to deploy another 390,000 vials Monday.