One of four people to vote against emergency authorization for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine did so because data on younger participants was lacking.
A Food and Drug Administration panel comprised of outside experts voted 17-4 on Thursday to move forward with an emergency authorization from the FDA.
Archana Chatterjee, dean of the Chicago Medical School, voted not to allow emergency authorization.
“I want to make it very clear that I am fully supportive of the emergency use authorization of this vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older,” Chatterjee told anchor Erin Burnett on CNN’s “OutFront.” “I think we are facing a deadly pandemic, and the vaccine, in addition to all the countermeasures, are needed to try to control the pandemic.”
Chatterjee then disagreed with Stephen Thomas, the principal Pfizer coronavirus vaccine investigator, who also appeared on “OutFront.”
“The issue I had was with regard to the data as Dr. Thomas mentioned in those younger patients excusing those younger participants, where I felt like the data were limited,” Chatterjee said. “And since they are not a high-risk category, at this point in time they’re not high priority for vaccination.”
It was pointed out to Chatterjee that experts say the vaccine only will be effective if a large number of people are immunized.
“It’s a matter of timing I think Erin, you’re absolutely correct that we need — it’s estimated somewhere around 60 or 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated for the vaccine to have an impact on controlling the pandemic. That is true,” Chatterjee said.
Since it will be a while before that portion of the population is immunized, Chatterjee said there will be time to collect further data on the effects on the young people.
Following the panel’s vote, the FDA must give the official go-ahead for Pfizer’s vaccine. The vaccine then will be shipped throughout the country.
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