Public hearing set for December on COVID vaccine

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WASHINGTON — The United States Food and Drug Administration will be holding a public hearing on Dec. 10 to hear from experts with Pfizer and Moderna on the effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine.

The hearing will be one of the last steps that is needed to be taken before the vaccines could get final approval for distribution.

“Assuming there aren’t any other hitches in the process, we could be looking at emergency authorization within weeks,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Fox News. “I will ensure that there’s a transparent, independent process because I’m going to ensure that any vaccine is one that I would take.”

Pfizer and Moderna have announced in the last two weeks their vaccine candidates have been 95-percent effective in clinical trials in stifling the spread of COVD-19.

Azar, a former executive with Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, said if all goes as hoped and the authorization is given by the FDA, ideally by Dec. 12, both vaccines will start to be shipped out to where they are needed within 24 hours of authorization. He said first responders, front line workers, and long-term care facility patients will be among the first to be given the vaccines.