The Food and Drug Administration has informed Pfizer that it intends to "get approved" for its coronavirus vaccine.
The news comes a day after an FDA panel recommended emergency approval for the Pfizer vaccine. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said there are still some hurdles to overcome, but if everything goes smoothly, the first coronavirus vaccinations could be given next week.
According to CNN, the emergency permit could be issued to Pfizer on Saturday. Once approved, Operation Warp Speed can begin distributing the vaccine across the country. However, vaccinations will not begin until a committee from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the vaccine and the CDC accepts it.
Governors across the country are debating which vulnerable communities should get the first shots. Health workers, elderly residents in and out of nursing homes, and low-income communities and workers are expected to be among the first.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 16 million Americans and killed more than 301,000. The virus took the country by surprise when President Trump refused to take it seriously. In the spring, millions lost their jobs overnight and there was a stock market that had to be halted several times.
Coronavirus cases and deaths fell in the summer. However, the second wave has come in force as several states are running out of hospital capacity and infected medical workers have been forced to continue working in some states.
In addition, Americans are still hoping for a second coronavirus stimulus package. However, Democrats and Republicans are too busy pointing fingers and arguing over the price. At the same time, millions of Americans are jobless and broke in a variety of industries, relying on food pantries and community refrigerators for help.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed a $ 908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, but Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell opposed the plan that said Republicans would not get on board despite several GOP lawmakers working on the bill worked.