Covid live updates and vaccine news: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine

Author : nishat391
Publish Date : 2020-12-12


Covid live updates and vaccine news: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine

Trucks and planes loaded with Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine will soon be departing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to hospitals around the country, following the Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization (EUA).

"We need to take a moment, I think, and just consider that we are having this mass casualty event every day here in the US, but now we have this vaccine developed in record time that can in time really save us and save our country and save the world from this awful pandemic," emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN's Chris Cuomo moments after the authorization.

"This is really a monumental moment for us," she added.

The news comes during the most difficult weeks the US has faced since the pandemic's start. Friday saw the highest number of new cases, hospitalizations and daily deaths since the pandemic's start. More than 3,300 American deaths were reported.

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FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn called the EUA a "significant milestone" in battling the pandemic, that comes after an "open and transparent review process that included input from independent scientific and public health experts and a thorough evaluation by the agency's career scientists."

There are just two key steps left before vaccinations can start: a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee -- scheduled to meet Saturday morning -- must vote to recommend the vaccine and the agency must then accept that recommendation.

Then, vaccinations can begin. But it'll be months before most Americans will get a vaccine.

Last week, vaccine advisers to the CDC voted to recommend that both health care workers and long-term care facility residents be first in line for Covid-19 vaccines that get the green light from the FDA. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has said about 20 million Americans should be vaccinated by the end of the month, 50 million by the end of January and at least 100 million people should be vaccinated by the end of the first quarter.

Officials "remain confident," he added, that there will be enough doses for any American who wants to get vaccinated by summertime.

In the meantime, the US -- already ravaged by a rampant spread of the virus -- is projected to face brutal days ahead.

Overburdened hospitals across the US

The country reported more than 231,700 new Covid-19 infections Friday -- the most ever.

Some communities have already begun feeling the impacts of Thanksgiving gatherings and travel -- which officials predicted would lead to even more infections and drive another surge. And that surge could be followed by another surge tied to the upcoming Christmas holiday, some officials have said.

For at least the sixth day in a row, the US also reported another record high number of hospitalizations: more than 108,000 Covid-19 patients nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Hospitals in nearly every corner of the country have felt the impact. HHS data shows more than 85% of hospitals nationwide had more Covid-19 patients last week than they did a month ago and overall, about one in five hospital inpatients were confirmed to have Covid-19 last week -- nearly double from a month earlier.

In the country's 10 largest cities, the share of hospital patients who had the virus ranged from about 9% in New York to 23% in Chicago. Meanwhile in El Paso, Texas, more than 50% of patients in city hospitals had Covid-19 between November 27 and December 3. That's nearly double the national average for that period.

In Mississippi, the state's top health official said Friday ICUs are full and "many hospitalizations (are) on the way." Elective surgeries requiring hospitalization must be delayed starting Tuesday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said on Twitter.

"Pressure on ICUs worse than summer surge. 26 hospitals on diversion for critically ill patients," Dobbs wrote a day earlier.

'Unprecedented and catastrophic suffering'

The rise in hospitalized Covid-19 patients nationwide has been followed by climbing death tolls. More than 3,300 American deaths were reported Friday, marking the deadliest day since the pandemic's start. The country's previous record was set Wednesday, with more than 3,100 deaths.

A grieving family in Trump country is fighting to prevent more Covid-19 deaths

A grieving family in Trump country is fighting to prevent more Covid-19 deaths

The next three months will be "really rough," CDC&#



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