US steps closer to vaccine approval amid row over ‘not purchasing more doses’ – Times of India

US regulators stepped closer to approving the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday as a 90-year-old British woman became the first person outside of trials to receive the shot, offering hope of slowing a pandemic that has pushed hospitals to the brink.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration sought to shore up the US vaccine supply and Congress progressed toward a stopgap Covid-19 relief package on Monday, when another 203,474 infections were reported and 1,582 people died.
Pfizer Inc is on the cusp of winning US approval for the vaccine it developed with Germany’s BioNTech, clearing a hurdle on Tuesday when the US FDA released documents that did not raise any new issues about its safety or efficacy.
Britain has already authorised the Pfizer vaccine, enabling Margaret Keenan, 90, to receive the first shot at her local hospital in Coventry in central England. While China and Russia have gone forward with their own vaccines, Britain is the first Western nation to begin mass inoculations.
The US could soon follow as an FDA panel of outside advisers will meet on Thursday to discuss whether to recommend emergency use authorisation of the Pfizer vaccine.US health officials predict a swift green light with inoculations starting days or weeks later. President Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday to ensure that priority access for Covid-19 vaccines procured by the US government is given to the American people before assisting other nations. The signing follows a New York Times report that Pfizer may not be able to provide more of its vaccine to the US until next June because of its commitments to other countries.
The Washington Post also reported that the Trump administration months ago passed on the chance to buy twice as many as the 100 million doses they agreed to. Pfizer had urged the Trump’ss Operation Warp Speed program to purchase 200 million doses, enough for 100 million people as the vaccine is administered in two shots, the Post reported. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied the reports “The administration didn’t pass. We contracted with many other firms.” Moncef Slaoui, a leader of Operation Warp Speed, said on Tuesday: “We have committed to have enough vaccine doses to immunise the full population by middle of the year, 2021.”

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