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FDA panel okays Pfizer vaccine, paving the way for it to be administered starting next week
(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

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway