Austonia daily newsletter—direct to your inbox 6 a.m.
×
becomeMemberIcon

become a member

(Pixabay)

An independent advisory panel recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Although the FDA is not obligated to heed the recommendations, it is expected that the federal agency will do so imminently.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week that the state would receive 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine starting on Monday.

The Austin area will receive an initial allotment of 13,650 doses, which will be distributed to priority populations pending FDA approval.

The first doses will go to a handful of hospitals in Travis, Hays and Williamson counties, with earliest access going to nursing home residents, front-line healthcare workers and EMS first responders, according to Austin Public Health.

"We are excited for our hospital systems partners to begin vaccinating our front-line hospital workers against this virus," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said in a statement last week.

It will likely take many months before the vaccine is widely available to the general public. Local health officials have stressed that Austinites will need to maintain protective measures—such as masking, social distancing and hand washing—until herd immunity is achieved through inoculation.

The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage and two doses, administered three weeks apart. The pharmaceutical company announced last month that preliminary data showed its vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.

Encouragingly, documents published by the FDA earlier this week showed that the Pfizer vaccine provides strong protection against COVID within about 10 days of the first dose, as the New York Times reported Thursday.

The Pfizer vaccine relies on a spike protein invented by a team of scientists led by Dr. Jason McLellan, an associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

"The fact that many of these leading (vaccine) candidates contain some of these mutations that we designed several years ago is just fantastic," he told Austonia last month.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the UK issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine last week. Canada's equivalent agency followed suit on Wednesday.

Popular

Tinder use soared alongside other popular dating apps during the pandemic and is expected to continue to grow.

It may not come as a surprise that dating app use surged during the pandemic when many had to swap the benefits of in-person dating for on-screen connections. Bumble revenue swelled to $337.2 million in 2020 compared to $275.5 million, Hinge revenue tripled in the same period and Tinder users broke two records from January to March of 2021.

Keep Reading Show less

(Pexels)

With more research done on the COVID-19 Delta variant, Austin Public Health is upping its goal of 70% vaccinated to at least 80% due to the extreme virality of the strain.

Keep Reading Show less

A newly certified petition will put a new item on the November ballot to up police presence. (Shutterstock)

Save Austin Now is now 2-0 over Austin City Council after its petition to add more staffed police officers to the Austin Police Department was certified, garnering over the 20,000 votes needed to make it on an election ballot.

Keep Reading Show less