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US panel approves emergency use of Pfizer vaccine

NEW YORK| The High Powered Vaccine Advisory Panel has endorsed the acceptance of Pfizer and BioNtech’s emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine for mass vaccination of Americans following a 9-hour marathon debate on safety and efficacy data. The Vaccine Advisory Group, with 17-4 votes, decided that Pfizer’s shot was safe for people 16 and older.

The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow the recommendation and prepare for a historic vaccination drive in the US.

The final vote came just before 6 pm (EST). Before that the regulators presented all their findings in a single question, which was, ‘Does the benefits of the Pfizer vaccine reduce the risk in people 16 and older?’

During the last hour of the debate, the issue was over whether or not to recommend the Pfizer vaccine for 16-year-olds. One of the vaccine advisory members said, ‘data is the lowest in this age group’. At the same time, about three members said that they would prefer vaccination only for those above 18 years of age.

Pfizer then made a strong pitch for its vaccine for prevention in persons 16 years and older with or without prior evidence of infection.

Pfizer said 95 percent of total vaccine efficacy was seen in both younger and older adults.

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