FDA says Pfizer Covid vaccine data did not raise safety concerns, in line with guidance for emergency use

A member of staff poses with a phial of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination health centre on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK’s history on December 8, 2020 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.Justin Tallis | Getty ImagesThe Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday data from Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trials did not raise any specific safety concerns. In briefing documents published ahead of an advisory meeting Thursday to review Pfizer’s vaccine, FDA staff also said data submitted was “consistent” with recommendations put forth by the agency for an emergency use authorization. “As such, FDA has determined that the Sponsor has provided adequate information to ensure the vaccine’s quality and consistency for authorization of the product under an EUA,” the agency wrote in documents posted on its website. The FDA is expected to decide on whether to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine within days.The documents posted Tuesday offer a glimpse of the FDA’s view of the vaccine. The FDA is scheduled to convene a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, known as VRBPAC, on Thursday to review Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine with German drugmaker BioNTech for emergency use authorization.Emergency use authorization means the FDA will allow some people to receive the vaccine as the agency continues to evaluate data. It isn’t the same as a full approval, which can typically take months. The FDA granted emergency clearance for Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir in May before giving full approval in late October.If the meeting Thursday goes well and the advisory committee formally votes to OK the vaccine, the FDA could announce its authorization “within days,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday. “But it’s going to go according to FDA’s gold-standard process, and I’m going to make sure it does,” he added.This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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