FDA panel meeting over Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Dec 10, 2020, 7:42 AM | Updated: 8:13 am

The FDA advisory panel is meeting Thursday to discuss the emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.  At today’s meeting, the panel will look over the data to determine if the shot is safe and effective enough to be cleared for emergency use.

“Vaccination is pretty much the only way out of this, if we want to prevent further spread, death, long-term complications, swamping our hospitals, overwhelming our health-care workers; and we have these really effective vaccines coming down the pipeline,” said Dr. Sarah Hall, a public health professor at Utah Valley University.

Hall says she trusts the process. She pointed out the unprecedented international cooperation and funding, and willing volunteers. Plus, she said the virus is already widespread in the population, which allowed the clinical data to come back much faster.

But as for everyone getting it, that’s what the FDA Advisory Panel will look at during their meeting. 

“For example, there might not have been enough volunteers in the trial to look at pregnant women, children, and people with compromised immune systems. For those people, I suggest we wait and see what the FDA has to say in the next couple of days.”

The FDA will make a decision based on the panel’s recommendation. The CDC is also planning to meet this weekend.  Then on Thursday of next week, the process starts over with Moderna’s COVID vaccine.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are what’s called mRNA vaccines.  Dr. Hall explained they include a piece of genetic code that gives instruction to your cells, and your immune system creates antibodies to fight off the virus.

“You can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine, there’s no virus in it,” she said.

Other companies are developing different types of vaccines for COVID-19. They have also gone through rigorous testing. But they won’t require as cold of temperatures to store.

“Your immune response will be similar to if you were naturally infected, but without actually causing the illness or spreading it to others,” she said.

Dr. Hall plans to get vaccinated as soon as she can. She hopes enough people in the community get it as well, in order to create that herd immunity.

“Vaccines will shorten the time it takes us to get past the virus and get back to normal,” she said.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States


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