The need for a vaccine in the US was highlighted by the number of coronavirus deaths recorded for Thursday. For the first time since June, the figure for deaths in a single day rose above 2,000.
So when could we expect vaccinations?
If FDA authorisation does come in the first half of next month, Pfizer and BioNTech will “be ready to distribute the vaccine candidate within hours”, the two companies said.
This would be remarkably quick for vaccine development – within 10 months of detailing the genetic code. The average wait for approval in the US is nearer eight years.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Thursday that the filing for emergency use was a “milestone in our journey to deliver a Covid-19 vaccine to the world”.
Initial doses would be scarce, though, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) will decide who is first in line.