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Belated Urgency

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The FDA has accelerated its timetable for approving the Pfizer vaccine:

With a new surge of coronavirus infections ripping through much of the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has accelerated its timetable to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, aiming to complete the process by the start of next month, people involved in the effort said.

President Biden said last week that he expected a fully approved vaccine in early fall. But the F.D.A.’s unofficial deadline is Labor Day or sooner, according to multiple people familiar with the plan. The agency said in a statement that its leaders recognized that approval might inspire more public confidence and had “taken an all-hands-on-deck approach” to the work.

Giving final approval to the Pfizer vaccine — rather than relying on the emergency authorization granted late last year by the F.D.A. — could help increase inoculation rates at a moment when the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus is sharply driving up the number of new cases.

A number of universities and hospitals, the Defense Department and at least one major city, San Francisco, are expected to mandate inoculation once a vaccine is fully approved. Final approval could also help mute misinformation about the safety of vaccines and clarify legal issues about mandates.

1)This is obviously a very good thing.

2)The fact that “all hands” were not “on deck” before this is, how shall I put this, incredibly damning. The theory that the FDA was going as fast as it possibly could while maintaining the integrity of the evaluation was never very plausible, and it is now conceding that it wasn’t. I can’t explain this, but I’m glad that the Delta seems to have concentrated some minds.

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