A 23-member advisory panel voted 17 to 4 Thursday to recommend Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to the Food and Drug Administration.
One of the members of the panel was a Connecticut attorney who voted in favor of the emergency use authorization for people over the age of 16.
“Over 3,000 people in America every day are going to be dying then it really makes sense,” Sheldon Toubman said.
Toubman, an attorney from New Haven, was one of the 17 panel members to vote in favor of the emergency use authorization for the vaccine.
“One of the most powerful things for me was reading comments from people who are currently participants in the trials. Some in Pfizer, some in the other ones,” Toubman said.
And just how unusual is it that a vaccine would be approved under an emergency use authorization?
“It’s extremely unusual. I believe in the FDA's history they’ve had emergency use authorization for a long time, they’ve used it quite a bit as you know, but it’s never been used for a vaccine,” Toubman said.
The one exception was the anthrax vaccine following 9/11 and that vaccine was only given to the military.
“There’s a real reluctance to be approving anything where the full studies have not been completed given the fact that it’s going to people who are otherwise perfectly fine,” Toubman said.
So why did he vote in favor of it?
“So when the data came in saying it’s 95% effective that really shifts the balance significantly,” Toubman said.
Toubman said after personally reviewing the data he is confident in the new vaccine. He says 162 people in the placebo group got COVID-19 and only eight in the vaccinated group got the virus.
“On balance, risk-benefit, it really seems to make sense people should move forward with getting this vaccine next year,” Toubman said.
Toubman is also reviewing documents and public comment and will also participate in an advisory panel meeting next Thursday on the Moderna vaccine.
Our sister station CNBC talked to a member of the panel who voted against it because she didn’t believe 16 and 17-year-olds should be included in the emergency use authorization.