CDC advisory panel recommends COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use
(Reuters) – A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel on Saturday recommended the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, helping clear the way for public health authorities to begin the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 11 to 0 to recommend the vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE as appropriate for Americans 16 and older. There were three abstentions due to prior conflicts of interest.
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine, clearing it for use by the general public.
The CDC is expected to consider and approve the recommendations by the panel in short order.
State and local public health authorities will use FDA and CDC guidance as they administer the first 2.9 million doses of the vaccine released to state, cities, and territories by the federal government.
ACIP already recommended that authorities should prioritize healthcare workers and nursing home residents for the first doses that become available.
It then falls on states and certain large cities to start administering the vaccine to local hospitals and nursing homes. Hospitals are expected to start vaccinating their employees as early as Monday.
The CDC panel discussed clinical considerations for certain patients like pregnant women and people with severe allergies, who were not studied in clinical trials, but the panel did not formally vote on these considerations.
Officials presenting at the meeting said that while there is not yet data on how the vaccine may impact pregnant women, pregnant women could decide for themselves whether or not to be vaccinated and should consult with their doctor.