NASHVILLE, TN – A panel of health experts voted to recommend FDA approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, with one Nashville health leader among those on the panel who voted in favor of the significant step.
The final step in approving the vaccine is the FDA officially signing off on it, which could come as soon as Saturday.
Dr. James Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College, was among the 17 yes votes to move Pfizer’s vaccine forward for FDA authorization.
Dr. Hildreth tweeted after his vote for the vaccine, writing “Weighing all available data and day-long discussions, I voted yes.”
“I think the data was pretty compelling that the benefits greatly out weighed the risks,” Hildreth said. “I wish there could have been slightly more enrollment of minorities in the trial, but I think the numbers were sufficient to make a decision.”
Once the FDA approves the vaccine, a little more than 56,000 doses will be coming to Tennessee.
The doses will first go to healthcare workers in hospitals, first responders and long term care facilities.
Here in Nashville, the Metro Health Department will be responsible for vaccinating assessment center staff and first responders.
Widespread public use isn’t expected to be available until at least spring 2021.