Aircraft carrying doses of a potential vaccine against COVID are being shipped to the United States because regulators hope to approve mass release immediately.
United Airlines charter flights reportedly began carrying vaccine doses to multiple areas around the country on Friday, with the first flight landing in Chicago that afternoon.
Although there is no vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19, we hope the planes will help spread quickly if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the shots for use in the United States, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Pfizer, which developed the photo with German company BioNTech, applied for permission to use its vaccine urgently last Friday. The FDA’s advisory committee is scheduled to meet on December 10 to vote on whether to recommend the vaccine for approval.
Moderna, which has also published promising trial data, is expected to apply for a similar license next week, according to USA Today.
Both companies published data from late-stage clinical trials suggesting that their vaccine applicants were 95% effective.
If granted, about 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed across the United States by mid-December, Warp Speed officials said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the UK may be set to approve the Pfizer vaccine “within days”, according to media reports. The Financial Times reports that the first injections can be given in the country from December 7, if the approval is given by the country’s regulator next week.
Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, while the United States has ordered 100 million.
This comes after a third vaccine applicant, who reported promising test results, was forced to continue further work to test its safety and efficacy.
The CEO of AstraZeneca confirmed that the company will conduct additional tests before applying for approval in the US, after questions were raised about the data.
Submitting a statement Thursday, Pascal Sorio said he did not expect the additional test to keep regulatory approvals in Britain and the European Union.
The researchers expressed concern after it became clear that the data were taken from two separate sub-samples – in the UK and Brazil, which are conducted differently and have different degrees of success.
One in which participants received two full doses per month showed that the vaccine was 62% effective. The other, in which people received half a dose followed by a full dose, showed that the vaccine was 90% effective.