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US virus cases surpass 16 million as CDC committee recommends Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

3 years 7 months 1 week ago Saturday, December 12 2020 Dec 12, 2020 December 12, 2020 5:03 PM December 12, 2020 in News
Source: CNN

On the same day that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to recommend the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for patients 16 and older, the nation's number of virus cases surpassed 16 million. 

According to CNN, it took the nation more than 8-and-a-half months to reach 8 million cases but less than two months to double that, as the number of new cases continues to soar.

Saturday, Dec. 12 marks the sixth day in a row that US officials have reported another record high number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients: more than 108,000 nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield must accept the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' (ACIP) recommendation before vaccinations can begin. That is expected to happen within hours.

As thousands of citizens grieve the loss of loved ones to the deadly virus, many agree the vaccine couldn't have arrived at a more desperate time.

On Friday, officials with the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their decision to approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as meeting necessary standards to be administered to adults in the U.S. on an emergency basis.

As previously mentioned, a CDC committee supported the FDA's decision Saturday. 

Dr. Peter Szilagyi, a pediatrician at the University of California Los Angeles and a member of the CDC's advisory committee, told CNN he voted in favor of the vaccine "because of the clear evidence of its efficacy/safety profile and benefit/risk profile, based on our evidence and policy framework."

"I know we're going to have very tough and hard times ahead because of the surge and a limited vaccine supply," Szilagyi said immediately following the committee's vote. "But I am really hopeful that this is the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic."

Pfizer's vaccine requires two doses administered several weeks apart to reach 95% efficacy, with no severe side effects seen in clinical trials, CNN reports.

Health officials say they're still unsure as to whether the vaccine is safe to be administered to children under 16 years of age, and the FDA says decisions about whether pregnant women should take the vaccine should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

While experts continue to analyze Pfizer's vaccine, they're also preparing to take a closer look at Moderna's COVID-vaccine.

Advisers to the FDA are expected to meet next week to discuss an Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna's vaccine.

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