Pfizer may seek FDA authorization for coronavirus vaccine this month » Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the Trump administration is gearing up to begin distributing a coronavirus vaccine in a matter of weeks.
That after an encouraging report from drugmaker Pfizer. The company said results from Phase 3 trials are showing its vaccine to be 90-percent effective in preventing COVID-19. Azar told Fox News…
AZAR: We’ve actually guaranteed receipt of FDA authorized vaccine from Pfizer, a 100 million doses that we’ve purchased for $2 billion dollars with an option for another 500 million more.
Pfizer appears to be on track to apply for emergency-use approval from the FDA later this month.
President Trump tweeted Monday “VACCINE COMING SOON … SUCH GREAT NEWS!”
Joe Biden also welcomed the news, but…
BIDEN: At the same time, it’s clear that this vaccine, even if approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come.
In the meantime, he urged all Americans to wear masks in public and socially distance.
Biden names COVID-19 advisory board » In a press conference Monday, Biden also announced his own coronavirus task force.
BIDEN: Today, I have named a COVID-19 transition advisory board, comprised of distinguished public health experts to help our transition team translate the Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan into action.
He said former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will lead the panel, along with former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and Yale University public health expert Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Other members of the panel will include prominent epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.
And assuming Biden is certified as the winner of the election, he’ll also ask Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay on in an advisory role.
Meantime, other top Trump administration officials have tested positive for COVID-19.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is the latest official to contract the virus. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tested positive earlier this week.
Stocks rally worldwide on vaccine hopes » Stocks rallied across the globe Monday following news of Pfizer’s vaccine progress. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Global markets were brimming with hope Monday that people may soon begin to return to normal life.
The Dow added 834 points on the Pfizer news. The S&P 500 also finished higher.
Markets also seemed relieved to move past the election. With the expected outcome of a Biden White House and a GOP-led Senate, the divided government would likely offer a balance of predictable policies.
Stocks of companies that most need the economy and the world to return to normal led the way. Chevron and the Walt Disney Company both jumped nearly 12 percent.
Cruise operators and owners of office buildings and shopping centers were among the market’s biggest winners.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Trump fires Defense Secretary Esper » President Trump has fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
He tweeted Monday—quote—“Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”
In his place, Trump named Christopher Miller as acting secretary of defense. Miller is the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Trump and Esper have been on the outs for months. Over the summer, Esper disagreed with the president on whether it was appropriate to use active-duty military forces to tamp down protests in the United States. He also supported the idea of renaming some military bases that honored Confederate generals.
Tropical Storm Eta taking aim at Fla. Panhandle, but track uncertain » Tropical Storm Eta is still spinning over the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Where it’s going remains to be seen.
Ken Graham with the National Hurricane Center told WKMG…
GRAHAM: You know, our track still takes it back up to the north and back up to portions of the Panhandle or the west coast of Florida, but there’s also some modeling that suggests that—well it may miss that trough and just sort of meander out there. So there’s still some uncertainty with that extended forecast.
As of last night, Eta was still packing winds just under hurricane strength, around 70 miles per hour.
The storm has already caused flooding across large areas of South Florida.
And Eta proved deadly last week in Mexico and Central America, killing hundreds as it triggered flooding and mudslides.