Pfizer inoculations proceed in West while other countries to wait months
TOKYO — Expectations are rising about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, as the U.S. announced on Friday it had approved emergency use of one developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval came as the country struggles to curb the highly infectious virus that has now infected more than 15 million people, the most in the world.
In the West, vaccinations are set to accelerate following a slew of approvals. On Tuesday, health workers in the U.K. kicked off inoculations by treating a 90-year-old grandmother with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This was followed on Wednesday as Canada authorized the same vaccine, with mass inoculations seen beginning next week.
The latest announcements mark a new chapter in the fight against a pandemic that has claimed 1.5 million lives and driven the global economy into the worst downturn in nearly a century.
Pfizer’s vaccine is said to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. U.S. biotech company Moderna soon followed with its own candidate offering similar efficacy.