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US approves Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine

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The US has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, a situation that now permits the rollout of the new mRNA coronavirus vaccine. President Donald Trump promised the first immunisations will now take place “in less than 24 hours”, hailing the development.

“Through our partnership with FedEx and UPS, we have already begun shipping the vaccine to every state and zip code in the country.”

President Trump also announced that governors in states around the US would decide who will go to the front of the queue to receive the new vaccine. The US is now the 6th country to approve the 2-dose vaccine schedule, following the lead of Britain, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

The US hopes to vaccinate 20 million people before the end of the year. A second vaccine, developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, is currently awaiting approval but is expected within the next week.

The decision is a scientific milestone for the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, but also for the mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) technology the Covid-19 vaccine is based on. Traditional vaccine technology normally uses a weakened or inactivated form of disease-causing microbes. The new mRNA technology “delivers genetic instructions to human cells to make them express a surface protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19)”.

The vaccine approval coincides with soaring cases in the US with the grim milestone of 300,000 confirmed deaths now surpassed in the past 24 hours. In the past 24 hours 246,530 new cases were announced along with 3,016 deaths as a result of Covid-19 infection.

US approves Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine | News by Thaiger

The approval of the Pfizer vaccine followed a busy 24hours after it was widely reported that the White House threatened to fire the US FDA chief Stephen Hahn if he didn’t issue the approval before the weekend. Mr. Hahn disputed the reports but gave the final approval anyway.

The US now heads into a huge logistical operation shipping millions of doses to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and aged care facilities around the country.

FedEx, one of the logistics partners, are using special boxes to manage the vaccine’s cold storage requirement of -70 degrees C.

US approves Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine | News by Thaiger

 

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