This is an email from Your Coronavirus Update, a newsletter by Medium Coronavirus Blog.
An advisory committee of independent infectious disease experts voted in favor of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine yesterday evening after 8.5 hours of presentations and debate. Their vote is a recommendation that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grant the vaccine authorization for emergency use.
The FDA released a statement this morning saying it intends to rapidly issue the emergency approval. The New York Times reports it could happen as early as this weekend. Once it does, people in the U.S. can begin to be vaccinated.
This is the moment in the pandemic many of us have been waiting for, especially in the U.S. where over 292,000 people have died from Covid-19 and cases haven’t flattened as they have in other countries. I think the vaccine data looks pretty darn excellent, and while I expect to be toward the back of line to get a vaccine, I will happily get one.
Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog
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A *Big* Q&A:
❓Does the release of a vaccine mean things will get back to “normal” soon?❓ Should I get the vaccine if I already had Covid-19?
❓ Is it legal for my employer to require me to get the vaccine?
❓ Will the vaccine protect against other coronavirus diseases?
Science and health journalist Tara Haelle consulted the experts to get answers to every possible question you have about the vaccine (and then some). Read it, bookmark it, send it to friends.
What we’re talking about on the Blog:
Everything you need to know about the FDA hearing. My colleague Dana Smith heroically listened to hours of FDA presentation and debate yesterday and covered all the important takeaways here — including what you should know about side effects. Read more.
The new CDC director has some innovative Covid-19 ideas. I looked through the studies that Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, Biden’s pick for the new director of the CDC, has published during the pandemic. They’re very forward-thinking, including embrace of the idea that technically less-accurate antigen tests should be used widely. Read more here.
Covid-19 is looking like an autoimmune disease. Experts say autoimmunity may explain how the virus inflicts such widespread and unpredictable damage. It’s possible that SARS-CoV-2 causes the immune system to misidentify something in cells as dangerous, leading to harmful inflammation. Read more here.