Local leaders react to recommendation to approve first COVID-19 vaccines

Independent medical professionals voted Thursday to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration allow  Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine to be shipped and administered as soon as early next week. 

The formal recommendation from the group of independent advisors is the final step before FDA officials decide whether to issue an emergency approval of the vaccine. The decision to do that now lies entirely in their hands. 

If the FDA authorizes Pfizer’s vaccine, the first 2.9 million doses are set to ship out within 24 hours to U.S. states and major cities. Some of those initial doses are expected to make their way right here to Corpus Christi. 

Current estimates suggest that up to 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of the year, according to the timeline set by Operation Warp Speed managers. 

The first vaccines will likely go to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In recent weeks, several states (including Texas)  have submitted detailed distribution plans, and it’s ultimately up to state and local officials who gets a shot first.

Locally, and county officials weighed in on the planned approval by issuing a press release. Nueces County officials said that the current allotment here locally would be around 6,000 doses which would cover frontline workers, most first responders and residents who are in care facilities. 

“I am excited about the approval so residents can get the vaccine and go on with their life,” Mayor Joe McComb said in the press release. “I am hoping people’s hesitation is short-lived and once the vaccine is available, they will take advantage of it. The vaccine can prove to be lifesaving and avoiding getting sick is what matters”.

Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni was equally excited about the news saying guardedly that ““We know the vaccine will not eliminate the Pandemic instantaneously and so our City professional team lead by our Public Health District will continue to work hard in safeguarding all residents from the terrible virus.”