An independent panel of experts has overwhelmingly voted to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration authorize Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in people ages 16 and older.
The vote Thursday afternoon was 17 in favor of the authorization and four against, with one person abstaining.
The members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, or VRBPAC, were not given an opportunity to explain their votes against recommending authorization. However, there was much discussion before the final vote to recommend authorizing the shots for teenagers 16 and 17 years old. Some experts worried there was not enough data to make an informed decision about the vaccine in adolescents.
One of the members who voted no, Dr. David Kim, director of the vaccines division of the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy in the Department of Health and Human Services, told CNBC in an email that he would have voted yes “most enthusiastically” had the vote been limited to recommending authorization to those ages 18 and older.
Although the FDA is not obligated to go along with the panel’s recommendation, it is widely expected to authorize the vaccine for emergency use promptly.
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