Virus Outbreak Russia

A medical worker wearing protective gear enters the treatment hall of a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in the Krylatskoye Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. Russia’s health care system has been under severe strain in recent weeks, as a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic has swept the country. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

WASHINGTON — The head of the U.S. effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine says the first immunizations could happen on Dec. 12.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is set to meet Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer Inc.’s request for an emergency use authorization for its developing COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech recently announced that the vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of the Operation Warp Speed, the coronavirus vaccine program, says plans are to ship vaccines to states within 24 hours of expected FDA approval.

Slaoui told CNN he expects vaccinations would begin on the second day after approval, Dec. 12

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