Pfizer, BioNTech seek emergency use of COVID-19 shots in US

This photo provided by Pfizer shows Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine storage facility in Kalamazoo, Mich. Pfizer is set to ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting a process that could bring first shots as early as next month. Friday, Nov. 20, step comes days after Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced its vaccine appears 95% protective in a large but not yet finished study.

Following this morning’s announcement by pharmaceutical company Pfizer that it is seeking emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their new COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Justice announced during Friday’s pandemic briefing that state officials in West Virginia have been preparing for months and are ready to implement an efficient vaccine distribution plan the moment that a vaccine is approved.

“Pfizer has reported that their vaccine has shown in excess of 94 percent effectiveness in their trials,” Gov. Justice said. “Once the FDA approves the emergency authorization, the vaccine will be distributed very quickly.

“Our Vaccine Advisory Council has been working on this since August, the National Guard has been heading this up, doing incredible work led by General Hoyer and his people,” Gov. Justice continued. “As soon as this vaccine is available, we will absolutely be ready to distribute it in West Virginia.”

Last month, Gov. Justice announced that state officials had completed and submitted West Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for review and approval.

“The vaccine plan that we submitted to the CDC is ready to be implemented the very second we receive doses of the vaccine in our state,” Gov. Justice said. “The most vulnerable will be vaccinated first. But, until that vaccine is in our hands, what is our best defense? It is, without question, to wear our masks and keep our distance.”

Earlier this week, Gov. Justice also celebrated early reports on another COVID-19 vaccine, currently being developed by biotech company Moderna, which indicate that the vaccine appears to be 94.5 percent effective, according to preliminary data from their ongoing study.

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