Missouri’s first COVID-19 vaccinations are expected to happen this week as the federal government has given the green light to a vaccine developed by Pfizer.
The FDA is allowing the vaccinations to begin under an emergency authorization.
“Pfizer’s purpose is breakthroughs that change patients’ lives, and in our 171-year history there has never been a more urgent need for a breakthrough than today with hundreds of thousands of people continuing to suffer from COVID-19,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “As a U.S. company, today’s news brings great pride and tremendous joy that Pfizer has risen to the challenge to develop a vaccine that has the potential to help bring an end to this devastating pandemic. We have worked tirelessly to make the impossible possible, steadfast in our belief that science will win.”
“The FDA’s authorization for emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine is a significant milestone in battling this devastating pandemic that has affected so many families in the United States and around the world,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D.
Missouri expects to receive a first shipment of 51,000 vaccines this week. The state could begin vaccinations on Thursday.
“As I told the members of the Operation Warp Speed team at the White House on Tuesday, we are incredibly appreciative of them for working relentlessly which has led to the development of this safe and effective vaccine,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “We have also worked hard here in Missouri with our partners in anticipation of this groundbreaking news so we can rapidly make vaccines available throughout Missouri.”
The state’s vaccination plan would prioritize protecting the most vulnerable residents first. The first shipment of Pfizer vaccines will mostly help protect health care workers.
Meanwhile, it’s expected that a vaccine developed by Moderna will also receive FDA approval in the coming days. When this happens, Missouri is expected to quickly receive 70,000 doses of this vaccine to protect most of the state’s long-term care residents.
The Missouri Chamber congratulates Pfizer on this amazing achievement. Pfizer operates two locations in the St. Louis area, including a Worldwide Research and Development laboratory focusing on biotherapeutics and vaccine development.
“This is an outstanding accomplishment and we are incredibly proud to have Pfizer as part of the Missouri business community,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Thanks to Pfizer’s work, lives will be saved across the globe and life will begin returning to normal. We all owe Pfizer a tremendous amount of gratitude for making this possible.”
There are more details about the state’s vaccination plan at covidvaccine.mo.gov.
As the vaccine begins to be distributed across Missouri, health officials are urging residents to continue taking precautions to stop the spread of the virus, including wearing masks and social distancing.