A panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted to recommend that people age 16 and older receivePfizer Inc. andBioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine, clearing away one of the final hurdles before vaccinations can begin in the U.S.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices cast the vote in an emergency meeting Saturday after the Food and Drug Administrationauthorized the shot’s use. CDC Director Robert Redfield must give a final sign-off on the panel’s recommendations.
“There is much work left but it’s a very important step,” Nancy Messonnier, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said of the vote.
The panel made recommendations to care providers, including encouraging monitoring people with a history of anaphylaxis, or allergic reactions, for 30 minutes after giving them a shot. The group also recommended letting pregnant women, lactating women and immunocomprised people decide whether to get a vaccine despite the lack of specific data on how it performs in these groups.
Linda Eckert, representing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said the group supports allowing pregnant and lactating women to choose. She said that the organization plans to provide education materials for its members and other doctors to help them counsel patients.
Committee members also urged more support for vaccine distribution, expressing alarm at how few dollars have been allocated for the rollout, compared with the amount of money the federal government invested in researching and manufacturing.
More detailed information about the panel’s recommendations will be made available for providers this weekend and through the week, said Messonnier. The goal is to share as much as possible by Monday, when the first vaccine shipments are scheduled to arrive.
“We wish we would’ve had it in advance, but time isn’t our friend in this setting,” Messonnier told the committee.
The committee had previously voted to prioritize giving the shots to health-care workers and long-term care residents, two groups at great risk of catching the coronavirus and experiencing severe illness. Local health officials generally plan to follow that guidance.
States, territories and a handful of cities should soonstart receiving some of the 2.9 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine the federal government will initially release. Gustave Perna, the army general and chief operations officer of Operation Warp Speed, in a briefing Saturday said the first doses will arrive Monday. More supplies are scheduled to come in weekly shipments as manufacturing ramps up.
They are supposed to receive weekly shipments as manufacturing ramps up.
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