An expert committee convened by the US Food and Drug Administration voted heavily in favor of recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use approval.
The committee was tasked with answering whether, “based on the totality of scientific evidence available, do the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine outweigh its risk for use in individuals 16 years of age and older?”
The vote by the independent experts and researchers, including infectious disease specialists, biostatisticians, and other scientists, isn’t binding but the FDA is expected to follow the recommendation within the coming days.
Britain, Canada, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have already approved the vaccine, the first in the world to complete a large-scale, phase 3 clinical trial.
Russian and Chinese vaccines are already being administered on a large scale, but without having completed comparable clinical trials.
Pfizer scientist Kathrin Jansen told the panel this was a result of the innovative messenger RNA technology behind the vaccine, an approach that has never before been approved.