- Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday the first COVID-19 vaccinations could occur as soon as Monday following the agency’s emergency approval on Friday.
- Trucks carrying the vaccine could be seen pulling out of Pfizer’s facilities in Michigan earlier Sunday as they make their way to a UPS hub in Kentucky before they are shipped across the US.
- While vaccinations will soon begin, it will be a months-long rollout that depends on state government plans that will likely prioritize vaccinations for healthcare workers and at-risk populations.
- Hahn also Sunday refuted reports the White House pressured him to approve the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, saying the decision was guided by “science and data.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday he hoped the COVID-19 would begin to be administered in the US as early as tomorrow following the agency’s emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine on Friday.
“My hope, again, is that this happens very expeditiously, hopefully tomorrow,” Hahn said of the first vaccination in the US during an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.
Hahn said he wasn’t sure why Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hadn’t accepted a panel’s vote Saturday to clear the vaccine for emergency use, but predicted there would be an announcement “very soon.”
“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Hahn responded. “I do know I’ve had a lot of conversations with director Redfield and he is certainly on top of this, and has a lot of confidence in the process.”
As Business Insider’s Andrew Dunn previously reported, the FDA on Friday approved a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine developed by the drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech. The approval followed a prior endorsement from an independent expert panel that reviewed data on the vaccine.
Trucks carrying the vaccine were seen leaving Pfizer’s Michigan manufacturing center earlier Sunday. The vaccines will head to a UPS hub in Kentucky before they’re shipped across the US.
—State of the Union (@CNNSotu) December 13, 2020
Still, even when the rollout begins this week, it will take months to become available to all Americans who want it. Last week, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the vaccine is imperative to bringing the pandemic to the end but won’t stop the ongoing surge of cases in the US and is not an excuse to end other measures meant to reduce the spread of the disease.
While the final distribution plans for the vaccine are left to state governments, an advisory panel for the CDC recommended that frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents be placed at the front of the line.
Hahn on Sunday also refuted reports that he had been pressured by high-ranking officials in the White House to issue the emergency use authorization for the vaccine. The Washington Post reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday delivered an ultimatum to the Hahn, telling him to announce the vaccine’s approval by the end of the day or submit his resignation.
“Nothing guided our decision, no external comments, no external pressure, other than the science and data, guided our decision-making,” Hahn told CNN’s Jake Tapper.