As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage in many parts of the world, the UK and the US are taking important steps this week in their vaccination efforts.
If you're just reading in now, here's where things stand:
- First vaccines given in the UK: The United Kingdom began administering the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine outside clinical trials today, launching a sprawling public health campaign to vaccinate tens of millions of people in just a matter of months. Margaret "Maggie" Keenan, who turns 91 next week, became the first person in the world to receive an authorized, fully-vetted coronavirus vaccine.
- US FDA advisers meet this week: The US Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday to discuss Pfizer's application for emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine candidate. A similar meeting is scheduled next week for Moderna's vaccine candidate. FDA officials say their decisions on the vaccines could come days to weeks after the meetings — it depends on what questions come up.
- Data on the vaccine candidate: Ahead of the meeting later this week, the FDA released data confirming Pfizer's vaccine efficacy against Covid-19. The document goes on to detail the safety profile of the vaccine as "favorable" and notes that the most common adverse reactions to the vaccine have been reactions at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.