Washington has joined Oregon, California and Nevada in giving the green light for the first COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Dec. 13.
The decision to approve the vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was made Dec. 13 following a unanimous vote by the 17-member Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup comprised of scientists from all four states.
Pfizer reported in November its vaccine is about 94.5% effective according to the final results of its human trials which included some 44,000 people.
It must be taken via two doses three weeks apart. Side effects can include joint pain, headaches, tiredness, fever and swelling around the injection site.
“After looking at all of the available data, our workgroup unanimously agreed that at this time the benefits of this vaccine greatly exceed any theoretical risks,” workgroup member Dr. John Dunn said. “I personally am reassured by the safety profile and look forward to being vaccinated as soon as I am eligible.”
The vaccine was approved by FDA on Dec. 11 by a margin of 17-4 for people ages 16 and up. FDA leaders who voted against it voiced concerns about its unknown side effects on those younger than the recommended age.
Washington expects to receive 62,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine by this week with another 160,000 due by the end of December. The first batch was expected to arrive by Dec. 14 while vaccinations were poised to start on Dec. 15.
Oregon expects to receive 147,950 doses this month while California is hoping to receive 327,000 doses.
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