WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Some good news for Americans: the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-fighting antiviral pill.
“The good news is we have a product now that has about a 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalization, but the sobering news is, unfortunately, it is really a quite complicated and complex synthetic process,” White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zeints says the federal government already pre-purchased 10 million treatment courses of the Pfizer pill but full production will take six to eight months with fewer than 300,000 courses available through the end of January.
“Now that the pill is authorized, we’ll have discussions to explore how we can help them improve their manufacturing capacity.
The COVID-19 team says infections and hospitalizations continue to increase. Fauci issued a holiday warning: family get-togethers where everyone is vaccinated are OK, but large gatherings with people you don’t know are a bad idea.
“Those are the kind of functions in the context of COVID and particularly in the context of omicron that you do not want to go to,” Dr. Fauci said.
And some areas like Washington D.C. are cracking down. D.C.’s mayor has ordered a vaccine mandate for anyone who wants to visit the city’s restaurants, bars, and clubs.
“If you are a resident who is not yet vaccinated and you want to continue enjoying these activities, now is the time to get vaccinated,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
The White House COVID-19 Response Team says the CDC is evaluating if they need to update the definition of “fully vaccinated” as more Americans get boosters.