Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Sunday that he signed the CDC's official recommendation for Americans 16 and older to use the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and applauded the vaccine as a step to "help restore some normalcy to our lives and our country."
"Last night, I was proud to sign the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation to use Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in people 16 and older," Redfield said in a statement on Sunday. "As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the U.S., CDC’s recommendation comes at a critical time. Initial COVID-19 vaccination is set to start as early as Monday, and this is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans, reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and help restore some normalcy to our lives and our country."
The FDA on Friday formally granted emergency approval for Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidate, officially paving the way for widespread distribution of the long-awaited vaccine.
The first truck carrying a COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the United States pulled out of a Portage, Mich., manufacturing plant Sunday morning, with the shots that are critical to stopping the nation's coronavirus outbreak destined to reach locations in all 50 states a day later.
The vaccine rollout comes with the support of Operation Warp Speed, a massive private and public partnership put together by the Trump administration.
President Trump, who had been pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to expedite approval, said finding a coronavirus vaccine would have taken "five years" if he weren't president.
"If I wasn't president? According to almost everybody, even the enemy, if I wasn't president, you wouldn't have a vaccine for five years," Trump told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade in an interview that aired Sunday. "OK, I push the FDA and companies and everybody else involved like nobody's ever been pushed before."
Fox News' Madeline Farber and the Associated Press contributed to this report.