The Latest: The next big step in vaccine approval

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
2 min readDec 9, 2020


Dear Reader,

The potential U.S. approval and rollout of a vaccine is getting closer. A medical expert advisory panel will review the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech tomorrow in order to help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule on whether to approve the vaccine for emergency use. The FDA is expected to follow the committee’s advice. If the vaccine does get FDA emergency approval, people in the United States will begin to receive it very soon after.

READ: Why the FDA’s Pfizer Hearing This Week Is So Important

The meeting, which you can tune into tomorrow here, will look deeply at the company’s data and questions around distribution. There’s a high chance the advisory committee will vote in favor of granting emergency approval of the vaccine. The same vaccine has been approved in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Bahrain. People began receiving it in the U.K. on Tuesday.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Case count: There are over 14.9 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 67.6 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far, over 283,743 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • Canada approves Pfizer vaccine: Health Canada approved the vaccine on Wednesday. It is also approved by the United Kingdom and Bahrain and officials expect U.S. emergency approval soon.
  • Britain begins Covid-19 vaccinations: Britain’s National Health Service began delivering shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Early Tuesday morning, a 90-year-old woman from central England, became the first person in the world to receive a clinically authorized, fully tested coronavirus vaccine.
  • Pfizer’s vaccine offers strong protection after the first dose: The first analysis of clinical trial data by the FDA found that the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech provides strong protection against Covid-19 within 10 days of the first dose. The data was published Tuesday before a meeting of its vaccine advisory group. (Read more.)

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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Why the FDA’s Pfizer Hearing This Week Is So Important

Turning a Vaccine Into Vaccination

Are the Covid-19 Vaccines Safe?

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Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that