Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: Pfizer vaccine can be stored at normal freezer temperatures, FDA says

NEW YORK (WABC) — Pfizer can now store its COVID vaccine at normal freezer temperatures, with the FDA hoping the authorization will help get the vaccine to more facilities.

The decision will also ease some of the constraints that had made the vaccine difficult to transport and store.

“Pfizer submitted data to the FDA to support this alternative temperature for transportation and storage,” FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks said. “This alternative temperature for transportation and storage of the undiluted vials is significant and allows the vials to be transported and stored under more flexible conditions.”

Previously, the agency recommended the Pfizer vaccine be stored at subzero temperatures.

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Here are more of today’s headlines:

Murphy: NJ should expect shipment of 70,000 J&J vaccine doses
New Jersey has been told it should expect a shipment of 70,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday. Approval for the company’s vaccine is expected to be imminent.

Indoor dining increases to 35% in NYC
Indoor dining in New York City expanded to 35% capacity Friday. That is a 10% increase since inside seating resumed on February 12. The intention is to ease competitive pressures on restaurants and bars. The new 35% limit puts the city on the same page as restaurants in New Jersey, which, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, had been making the city’s restrictions ineffective, since people can cross the Hudson River to dine in the Garden State.

NYC expands hours, appointments at some sites
The city has a surplus of vaccines after delayed shipments from last week arrived this week. Overnight appointments were added at the vaccination centers at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bathgate Industrial Park in the Bronx, and Citi Field in Queens. The overnight appointments will be offered until the supply is gone.

House to vote on COVID relief bill
Democrats are ready to shove a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package through the House on Friday, despite a setback that means a minimum wage boost is unlikely to be in the final version that reaches President Joe Biden. A near party-line vote seemed certain on the measure, Biden’s first crack at his initial legislative goal of acting decisively against the pandemic. In the year since the coronavirus has taken hold, it has stalled much of the economy, killed half a million Americans, and reshaped the daily lives of virtually everyone.

FDA considering Johnson & Johnson vaccine authorization
US Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisers are meeting Friday to discuss the potential emergency authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine for the US, this one made by Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine arm Janssen Biotech. It’s the next step in a process that could end with the new vaccine’s rollout early next week. As with the two currently authorized vaccines, advisers and federal agencies are meeting over a weekend to try to get the vaccines to the US public as soon as possible. The FDA has already considered the advanced, Phase 3 clinical trial testing data presented by Janssen and says it shows the vaccine is safe and effective. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee or VRBPAC is made up of vaccine experts and other medical professionals, industry and consumer representatives who will consider presentations from FDA about its findings, as well as from Janssen.

More Americans now plan to get COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, poll finds
An increasing number of Americans are anxious to get COVID-19 vaccines as the rollout continues, with more than half of Americans saying they plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible or have already received at least one dose. More than 13% of the adult population has received at least one dose, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, and more than 6% are fully vaccinated with the two-dose regimen required for the available vaccines.

The new figures from a Kaiser Family Foundation poll show that anticipation for the vaccines is growing. At least 55% of Americans have received the vaccine or plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible, according to new results released Friday, compared to 47% in January. The supply of available vaccines still can’t meet demand, but the number of doses is expected to increase in the coming weeks, with enough doses for 130 million adults expected by the end of March.

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.


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