Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine gets a nod from an independent panel of experts who have overwhelmingly voted to recommend the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authorization for emergency usage for individuals 16 years old and older.
The panel cast the votes on Thursday, wherein 17 favored the authorization, and four of them were against, with one person abstaining.
The members of the VRBPAC or the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, were not allowed to explain their votes against the recommendation of the authorization.
There was much discussion before the final vote to recommend authorizing the shots for teenagers 16 and 17.
However, some experts are worried that there was not enough data to make an informed decision regarding the vaccine among adolescents.
According to NBC, among the four individuals who voted "no" was Dr. David Kim, the director of the vaccines division of the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy in the Department of Health and Human Services.
He told the news agency in an email that he would have voted yes if the recommending authorization will be moved for those ages 18 years and older.
Despite the fact that the FDA is not obligated to go along with the recommendation coming from the panel, it is expected by the majority that they will authorize the vaccine for emergency use promptly.
Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, shared in an interview on Thursday that the plan is to take their recommendations into account for their decision-making. That's when they make a decision shortly.
He added that it depends upon the complexity of the issues discussed, but they intend to act quickly.
If the recommendations were successful, the United States would be the fourth country in the world to move forward with the vaccine from Pfizer, as Canada approved the usage of the vaccine on Wednesday. At the same time, Bahrain has also granted access to the vaccine, and the United Kingdom began administering the shots this week, The Guardian reported.
According to the latest data, the vaccine is safe and 95 percent effective across various ages, racial groups, and even ethnicities when given in two doses, three weeks apart.
Outside experts have been effusive with praise for the work that Pfizer had done in their vaccine.
Dr. Eric Rubin, an immunologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, wrote and published on Thursday an editorial mentioning that the trial results are impressive enough to hold up in any conceivable analysis.
He also wrote that most of the vaccines had taken decades to develop, but this vaccine is likely to move from conception to large-scale implementation within a year; therefore, it is a triumph.
The shots come with some side effects, including fatigue, fever, muscle, headache, and joint pain. Two individuals in the United Kingdom were reported to have had some allergic reactions after getting the shot. However, they are already recovering well, the New York Times reported.