Virginia, North Carolina officials respond to FDA vaccine approval


(WAVY) — On Friday night, the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the United States.

It’s the final regulatory hurdle for the vaccine, and inoculation could begin within 48 hours.

Here’s a list of officials in North Carolina and Virginia that have released statements on the approval of the vaccine:

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

“Today’s announcement by the FDA is much-needed good news for the families and communities who’ve lost a loved one to the virus and for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response efforts – especially as the U.S. reached a devastating COVID-19 milestone just this week, with cases only surging by the day.

“Earlier this year, Congress provided emergency funding to accelerate the development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to the American public. I want to commend the scientific community for accomplishing this task in an unprecedented amount of time. Now, we must build upon this achievement to ensure the vaccine is quickly and fairly distributed to our nation’s health care and essential workers, high-risk Americans, and communities disproportionately hit by the virus.

“Despite this momentous breakthrough, we must not let our guards down. As health officials boost vaccine production for public distribution, we must continue to follow public health guidance on frequent handwashing, mask wearing, and social distancing. While I welcome this good news, the best way to keep our communities safe and slow the spread is by following these necessary steps.”

U.S. Rep. Gregory Murphy (R-NC)

“Many believed it would take at least a year to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, but American innovation has exceeded expectations yet again. Operation Warp Speed has come through. This is truly remarkable. It has been a long year, and everyone is ready for relief. We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this announcement. However, we must continue to engage in social spacing and wear masks for the foreseeable future.

“As a physician and ardent supporter of Operation Warp Speed since its inception, I have the utmost confidence in the tremendous efficacy and overall safety of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. I will take it and my family will take it as soon as it becomes available to us. I encourage others to do the same.”

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

“North Carolinians have endured tremendous hardship this year, but the FDA’s approval of a COVID-19 vaccine is a monumental achievement that can clear the path to defeating this pandemic and returning life to normal. This will be the first of several vaccines that are approved, and all North Carolinians should have confidence that no corners were cut in ensuring its safety and effectiveness, and that all vaccine candidates undergo the scrutiny of the FDA’s gold standard review process. I applaud the thousands of Americans who have participated in clinical trials, including many North Carolinians. The success of the vaccine will be ultimately dependent on the whether the majority of Americans elect to participate. That is why I will be getting vaccinated next year once it is widely available to the American public and after those who are on the frontlines or are most vulnerable have already received it.”

This story will be updated as more statements are released.

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