The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for Americans 16 and older, with the news breaking on the same day that the pharmaceutical company began to roll out its first nationwide shipments.
CDC Director Robert Redfield on Saturday officially approved an endorsement made by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, it was widely reported Sunday.
Redfield said in a statement reported by CNBC that it was a moment of pride to sign off on the panel’s recommendation.
“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,” he said.
Redfield’s approval came the same day that the first shipments of the vaccine left a Pfizer facility in Michigan for distribution centers across the country. It also followed the Food and Drug Administration officially approving the drug late Friday night for emergency use.
Health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities are expected to receive the first shots. Each state determines who will get priority, though many governors and state health agencies were waiting for the CDC panel’s recommendations before determining which groups will go first, Politico reported.
A clinical trial found that the vaccine is 95% effective with generally mild side effects.
Moderna, which reported that its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective, is expected to receive FDA authorization this month.
The CDC did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
As COVID-19 cases rise, it’s more important than ever to remain connected and informed. Join the HuffPost community today. (It’s free!)
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter