Americans could start getting COVID-19 vaccines as early as Friday, an FDA advisor says

  • The US could start giving COVID-19 vaccinations as early as Friday, according to James Hildreth, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccines advisor.
  • If the FDA gives an emergency use authorization to Pfizer's vaccine after a meeting of experts Thursday, Americans could start taking the shot on Friday, Hildreth told NBC.
  • "By the end of the day Thursday, there could be a decision made about the vaccine," he said. Hildreth sits on the committee that will advise the FDA on its decision.
  • Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the head of the White House's coronavirus vaccine effort, told CBS Sunday that "the first vaccine shipment will happen on the day after the vaccine is approved."
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Amercians could begin to receive Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine as early as Friday, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisor said Sunday.

A panel of FDA advisors will meet Thursday to assess the vaccine, which Pfizer requested an emergency use authorization for on November 20. 

During the meeting, Pfizer will present the safety and efficacy data for its shot, which it says is 95% effective, and answer questions from the scientific experts. 

The panel will then advise the FDA on whether the vaccine should be approved in the US or not. The FDA will most likely follow the panel's recommendations, and the shot could be authorized within 24 hours. 

James Hildreth is a member of the committee, called the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. He told NBC's "Weekend Today" on Saturday that there could be a decision made about the vaccine by the end of Thursday.

"If the FDA commissioner decides to issue approval, the EUA, on that day when the vote is taken, as early as Friday of next week we could see vaccinations happening across the country."

Hildreth said "technology, existing infrastructure and really incredible science" have contributed to "the fast speed of the developing of this vaccine."

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the head of the White House's coronavirus vaccine effort, said in a CBS News interview Sunday that he expects the FDA to approve the shot. 

"The first vaccine shipment will happen on the day after the vaccine is approved," Slaoui said. "That's how we planned it. If the vaccine is approved on the 10th or the 11th, the minute it's approved, the shipments will start."

He told CBS that the vaccine will help the most vulnerable people by January and February.

"But on a population basis, for our lives to start getting back to normal, we're talking about April or May," he added.

The UK is set to rollout the COVID-19 shots on Tuesday, following approval on December 2. 

Read more: There's light at the end of the COVID tunnel, I just don't see it yet.

The UK government said the first wave of two-shot vaccinations will begin on Tuesday and be enough for roughly 400,000 people.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US's top infectious-disease expert, on Thursday told Fox News, CBS, and Sky News that UK regulators were too quick to authorize Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine — but later apologized to the BBC for his comments.

COVID-19 has infected more than 14.8 million people in the US and killed more than 282,000, according to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker.

Get the latest Pfizer stock price here.

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