BioNTech/Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine has been approved by the FDA, beginning the long process of distributing it to the general populace - healthcare workers will begin receiving it next week.
At around 7:30 pm on December 10th, 2020, news finally broke of the FDA's decision regarding the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. It will pave the way for the vaccine's distribution, which will first go to healthcare workers, then essential workers and those most at risk, and so on (Thomas, Weiland, & LaFraniere/Ny Times). Access to the general population may not arrive until the Spring of 2021, but even having a concrete timeline in place will likely be very positive news for many.
German-Turkish married couple Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, who founded and work for BioNTech, as well as Austrian oncologist Christoph Huber (Oltermann/Guardian) discovered the breakthrough. They released news of its success in the 3rd and final stage of its trial almost exactly a month ago, and since then the world had waited for further news.
The vaccine had yet to be approved by any governmental organizations for use, nor distribution, until England finally gave it the greenlight, and their program of 'jabs' (a British term for injections that has made its rounds in recent days) began in earnest only two days ago on December 8th.
Margaret Keenan came into the spotlight as the first recipient of the vaccine in a day that would mark an important stage in the process of ending this nearly yearlong pandemic (Kottasová & Reynolds/CNN). Additionally, a man named William Shakespeare was in the news again, as one of the first to receive the vaccine, adding a little more levity to an already positive news cycle.
On January 23rd, 2020 in Wuhan, China, the first lockdown was put into effect, with the next country to be forced to enforce one being Italy, on March 9th. Since then, the world over, lockdowns of many types have been put into place, lifted, and in some cases reinstated in order to stem the spread of the deadly virus' three 'waves' to date. The news of this vaccine, as well as others developed in China, Russia, and elsewhere will come as great news, with many clamoring for a restoration to normalcy. Still, the final stage of inoculating enough people against the virus (and additionally preventing its spread enough to kill it once and for all) could be a longer process yet.