COVID-19

Pfizer to ask today for emergency vaccine authorization

David Brancaccio, Jasmine Garsd, and Alex Schroeder Nov 20, 2020
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An illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of pharmaceutical company Pfizer, on Nov. 17, 2020. Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Pfizer to ask today for emergency vaccine authorization

David Brancaccio, Jasmine Garsd, and Alex Schroeder Nov 20, 2020
Heard on:
An illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of pharmaceutical company Pfizer, on Nov. 17, 2020. Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images
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Pfizer and BioNTech say they will ask the FDA Friday for emergency authorization of their coronavirus vaccine, the first set of companies to take this step. What does the process look like from here?

Marketplace’s Jasmine Garsd has the latest on this. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

David Brancaccio: How’s it work? Seeking emergency authorization does not mean we will immediately have a vaccine, right?

Jasmine Garsd: Correct. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the FDA, has said it will move “as quickly as possible” to approve the vaccines for limited use.

Brancaccio: Emergency authorization is not the same as approval of a drug. Can you explain the difference?

Garsd: Emergency authorization means the FDA facilitates availability of a product, which it thinks may be effective, during a declared state of emergency. I should note — Pfizer says the vaccine is 95% effective and has said once the vaccine is cleared, they’ll be ready to start distributing within hours.

Brancaccio: There has been controversy over emergency authorization of a vaccine, right?

Garsd: Yes, absolutely. There’s been concern over the politics of all this. The current administration has been pushing hard on getting a vaccine as soon as possible, and experts have raised concern over rushing the process. There’s clearly also public concern: According to an October Gallup poll, only 58% of people said they would receive a vaccine.

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