A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Thursday recommended the approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in people over 16 years old, CNBC reports.
17 members of the panel voted in favor of the approval, four voted against and one abstained.
The move is the last step before the FDA gives the final approval to broadly distribute the first doses of the vaccine throughout the United States.
If the FDA accepts the nonbinding recommendation from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, it would mark a pivotal moment in the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, which has seen more than 15.4 million cases and 290,000 deaths.
The committee plays a key role in approving flu and other vaccines in the US, verifying the shots are safe for public use. While the FDA does not have to follow the advisory committee’s recommendation, it often does.
Earlier this week, Britain began administering doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with the first injection administered Tuesday in Coventry.
Israel received its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday morning.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel would begin distributing coronavirus vaccines starting on December 27, with the goal of providing 60,000 vaccines a day.