U.S. FDA approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, with shipments to be sent next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration beat its own timeline and gave the green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine late Friday, according to multiple reports, with shipments expected to be sent across the country next week.

The New York Times and the Washington Post both broke the news, citing anonymous sources ahead of an official announcement. Other outlets quickly followed, including the Associated Press and Reuters.

The FDA had been expected to give its final approval to the vaccine on Saturday, after an advisory panel recommended on Thursday that the shot be given emergency authorization for use.

Read more: U.S. panel gives greenlight to Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, now awaiting FDA

That timeline was quickened after both the Washington Post and New York Times reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to submit his resignation if approval didn’t come by Friday night. Those reports also cited anonymous sources.

The imminent arrival of a vaccine comes as the U.S. faces the worst surge yet in a pandemic that has now killed nearly 295,000 people and infected over 15.6 million more to date.

The Pfizer vaccine has already been approved by the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico, with other countries expected to quickly follow. Shots have already been given to people in the U.S., with inoculations expected to begin in Canada on Monday.

More to come…

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