FDA Will Consider Pfizer COVID Vaccine Authorization on Thursday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With more people in the hospital and more dying from COVID, a possible lifeline is arriving soon.

The Food and Drug Administration meets on Thursday.

A decision on approving Pfizer‘s vaccine could come in days, with one from Moderna being considered next week.

“20 million people should get vaccinated in just the next several weeks,” says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Three local hospitals (Atrium Health Carolina’s Medical Center, Caldwell Memorial Hospital, & Catawba Valley Medical Center) will get advance shipments because they have the subzero freezers needed to store the Pfizer vaccine.

It comes as the U.S. is now averaging more than 206,000 cases a day over the last week, the highest in the pandemic so far.

People in the U.K are already getting the vaccine.

But after two healthcare workers experienced an an allergic reaction, health experts in the U.K. are warning… those with significant allergic reactions shouldn’t get it.

“40,000 people plus participated in evaluating this vaccine and only rarely did they see any kind of allergic reaction, so this is not a major concern,” says Dr. James Hildreth, with the FDA Vaccine Advisory Board.

The initial shipment is only expected to go to frontline workers.

But others interested can still participate in clinical trials of other COVID vaccines, including one being announced soon at Atrium Health.

“We know because of the time lag, until these vaccines are available that for many parts of our community, maybe the only opportunity that they’re going to have to be able to get a vaccine would be to participate in a clinical trial,” explains Dr. Christine Turley, with Atrium Health.