- Pfizer erased early gains and dipped as much as 2.5% on Friday after the US Food and Drug Administration closed in on approving its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
- A panel of experts recommended the shot for emergency use in people at least 16 years old on Thursday.
- The agency is now working “rapidly” to finalize and issue its emergency-use authorization, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a Friday statement.
- The UK has already begun administering Pfizer’s shot, while Canada approved its use on Wednesday.
- Watch Pfizer trade live here.
Pfizer erased early gains and fell as much as 2.5% on Friday as the US Food and Drug Administration moved closer to approving its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.
The group, which included infectious disease experts, statisticians, and public health scientists, voted 17 to 4 on Thursday in favor of authorizing the shot for people at least 16 years old. One member abstained.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Friday morning that the agency is working “rapidly” to issue final regulatory approval.
“Following yesterday’s positive advisory committee meeting outcome regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has informed the sponsor that it will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization,” Hahn said in a statement.
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BioNTech, Pfizer’s German partner in the development of the vaccine, rose as much as 0.6% in early trading.
The recommendation marks the latest step forward in distributing the first COVID-19 vaccine to the American public. Pfizer’s shot is already being administered in the UK, and Canada approved the vaccine on Wednesday. The FDA is expected to authorize its use domestically before the end of the month.
The agency has notified Pfizer and BioNTech, the Centers for Disease Control, and Operation Warp Speed of its plans to authorize the vaccine so that it can quickly distribute doses. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Good Morning America that the vaccine could be rolled out as early as Monday.
The US plans to vaccinate 100 million people for free by the end of March. The forecast hinges on also approving Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, which is next in line for regulatory authorization. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s shots proved highly effective in late-stage trials.
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Vaccines will be distributed according to states’ adult population sizes, and state governments will determine how to allocate their supply. A CDC advisory group recommended in early December that healthcare workers and nursing-home residents should be the first to receive vaccines.
Pfizer closed at $41.73 on Thursday, up 7% year-to-date. The company has one “buy” rating, 15 “hold” ratings, and no “sell” ratings from analysts.
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