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Drug Companies Preparing to Distribute Vaccines, Awaiting FDA Approval

This photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. (AP File)

WASHINGTON – From a production facility in Belgium to a storage facility in Michigan, drugmaker Pfizer is preparing to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it gets the go-ahead. This news comes as Moderna says it's also seeking emergency authorization for its vaccine. 

All eyes are now on the Federal Drug Administration which could give Pfizer the green light for emergency use after Dec. 10. Moderna could be approved after a hearing on Dec. 17. 

"We're not going to cut corners," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn. "The authorization process, although expedited, has very similar criteria to what we would use for the regular approval of a vaccine." 

Moderna is reporting impressive numbers with its vaccine which it says is 94 percent effective, and 100 percent effective against extreme cases. 

"This is something that can be trusted and will be safe for them and their families and could save potentially hundreds of thousands of lives," said Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health. 

Healthcare workers and other first responders could be the first to get the drug but there's not enough for all of them. 

A panel at the Centers for Disease Control will meet Tuesday to vote on recommendations for who should be immunized first, though the states will have the final decision. 

And for the rest of the nation, it may be well into the month of June. 

"100 perfect of Americans that want to vaccine will have the vaccine by that point in time," said Lt. General Paul Ostrowski, USA (Ret.). Operation Warp Speed director of supply, production, and distribution.

All of the good news on the vaccines comes as case numbers across the country are rising quickly. Right now. there are more than 96,000 hospitalizations, that number nearly doubling since Nov. 1.

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