According to Medicare.gov, Medicare will provide coverage for the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Currently, FDA.gov has no FDA-approved or authorized vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. On December 10, 2020, the FDA will meet with its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. They plan to discuss the request for emergency use authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, Inc. in partnership with BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH.
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COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization
If FDA approves the Emergency Use Authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, it plans to distribute the vaccine to “high-risk populations in the U.S. by the middle to end of December 2020.” According to CNN, Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine is the first to seek regulatory clearance in the United States. Furthermore, Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, said, “It took just 248 days to get from the day we announced our plans to collaborate with BioNTech to our FDA submission day.”
Update February 28, 2021: Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine emergency use approved.
How does Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine work, and how effective is it?
Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses a few weeks apart. Furthermore, Coronavirus protection starts 28 days after the first shot. Final analysis of Phase 3 clinical trials found Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine 95% effective in preventing infections.
However, another pharmaceutical company, Moderna, has a COVID-19 vaccine that is just as effective.
Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine shows 94.5% effectiveness in clinical trials. It plans to apply for FDA emergency use authorization later in November. Consequently, the FDA is likely to consider both applications on December 10, 2020.
Now that we know which COVID-19 vaccines may be available in December 2020, which high-risk groups will likely get emergency use first?
When and Who Will Get The Vaccine First?
The Hill reports Robert Redfield, CDC director, said today that a COVID-19 vaccine would be released “by the end of the second week of December.” Furthermore, Redfield says the decision to receive the vaccine first (based on risk and exposure) will likely be “nursing home residents and health care providers.” In the meantime, the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is by wearing a cloth mask.
Update: COVID-19 vaccines became available in December 2020. Learn more about these and other vaccines for seniors.