FDA holds press conference after approving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn assured the public in a virtual press conference that the coronavirus vaccine would be safe to take on Saturday morning, after the agency authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday evening.

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“Efficiency does not mean any cutting of corners,” Hahn said about the process for approving a vaccine. However, he said that distributing the vaccine would take time, and so people should continue to follow guidelines for remaining safe.

“We remind the public to remain vigilant, as inoculation will take time. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and remain socially distant when possible,” Hahn said. He added that he was concerned about “vaccine hesitancy,” but believed that the agency’s transparency and thoroughness in the approval process would “go a long way” in convincing Americans that the vaccine would be safe to take.

Frontline medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be the first to get the vaccine, and could receive it as early as Monday. The vaccine is authorized for people age 16 and older, the FDA said in a statement announcing the decision. 

“The FDA’s authorization for emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine is a significant milestone in battling this devastating pandemic that has affected so many families in the United States and around the world,” Hahn said in the statement on Friday. 

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