tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 10, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PST
behind him. then what happened, the next car paid for the car behind them. >> that's what we call minnesota nice and so on and so on. until the chain reaction lasted nearly two days. and over 900 cars. >> no matter what hard times everybody is going through, just take care of each other. >> the store manager right there. pretty good to see. good people in this world, jim. thanks to everyone -- >> when are you buying me some -- >> when i get to see you in person and not these stupid split screens i will buy you as many dilly bars as you want. >> i'll take it. >> thank you for joining us i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. "newsroom" with kate bolduan starts right now. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan thank you for joining us this hour. we start with breaking news on the authorization of pfizer's covid vaccine in the u.s. today.
this meeting on pfizer's covid vaccine being considered today. an fda advisory panel is holding an all-day meeting right now. a vote will be held later today on weather to authorize the vaccine for emergency use in the united states. if it gets the okay, which is expected, the first americans could be vaccinated within days. this morning, a member of the advisory board laid out the significance of this meeting. >> today we will be considering whether to make available to millions of americans an as yet investigational vaccine that has been developed, tested and reviewed in record time. we will have a single question for the committee to vote on. the question is, based on the totality of scientific evidence available, do the benefits of the pfizer vaccine outweigh its risks for use in individuals 16 years of age and older. >> contrast this hope with the
sad reality that the country just had the worse day in the history of the pandemic. the numbers really are staggering, more than 3,100 deaths were reported yesterday. the first time the nation has topped more than 3,000 deaths in a single day. since the start of this month more than 21,000 americans have been killed by the virus. hospitalizations are once again at an all-time high. nearly 107,000 americans currently receiving treatment in the hospital for covid. all of this makes today's meeting and the expected decision all the more urgent and meaningful. let's get to all of this. first this meeting of the independent experts on the pfizer vaccine. the meeting is ongoing. elizabeth cohen has been following this. what has happened so far? where are they focused and what's expected to happen? >> kate, they're focused on two areas, one does this vaccine work? does it actually keep people
from getting covid-19 and number two, is it safe? so let's go over what we know about that so far. the fda was basically hoping for a vaccine that would be 50% effective. that would have made them happy. instead, thank goodness they got a vaccine that's 95% effective. that is really astounding. and there were frequent side effects, people did tend to get sleepy, they were achy, they had fever, but those things only lasted about a day, there were no serious adverse events because of this vaccine. now one thing we should note is the vaccine was tested in more than 40,000 people but this committee is going to talk about the people it wasn't tested in because if it wasn't tested in a certain type of person then maybe those people should not be getting the vaccine because we don't know if it's safe for them because it wasn't tested in them. let's look at that group. we do not know if the vaccine is
safe for children under 16 because it wasn't tested in them, same for pregnant women, women who are breast-feeding, also people who are immunocompromised. and people who have had severe reactions to vaccines in the past we haven't tested it on them so we don't know if it's safe for them or not. the timeline is what everyone wants to know. what we know, as you mentioned, is first, if it gets authorization, which we think it will, the first shots could be going into arms within a matter of days maybe a week. the first group to get the vaccine will be health care workers and residents of nursing homes. it will then go to the next group, essential workers, firefighters, police officers, et cetera. other elderly, not those living in nursing homes and also those with underlying conditions, everything from heart disease to obesity.
later is when everyone else will get it. that later could be this spring. if you don't fall into a high risk group you may not get the vaccine until the spring. >> thank you. joining me is dr. richard besser. thank you for being here, doctor. in this meeting so far we have been hearing from the -- talking about many things but we heard from an fda official about their assessmentme assessment of pfizer's manufacturing quality. i want to play for you what the official said. >> in information submitted prior to the eua, fda has been conducting an ongoing review of manufacturing quality, consistency, and control. and we have found this information to be adequate to support emergency use authorization of the vaccine. >> adequate to support emergency use. why is this element an important
one in getting the green light here? >> so, you know, as elizabeth cohen was saying, safety and effectiveness are critical pieces. the third piece, though, is the company has to demonstrate that they're going to be able to manufacture the vaccine with the safety controls you want to have in place. and making a vaccine, a drug, any product that's going to be put into a body, requires having very good controls on that process. so what they're saying is, from what the company submitted they're able to determine the company has the adequate production capabilities to be able to manufacture the vaccine. >> the fda commissioner has said no matter what happens with the independent panel, the fda is the agency that makes the final call. and he said today when he was asked about this, the fda's plan, the panel's recommendation -- the fda's plan to take the panel's recommendation into account for
decision making, is how he put it, do you see a scenario where the fda would act against the recommendation of this panel? >> there have been rare occasions where an fda panel has made a recommendation and the fda or at times the department has gone against that recommendation. it's rare. i don't think that's going to happen here. i think if that were to happen, it would be a big mistake because one of the wonderful things about this process is the transparency. you know, i really enjoyed being able to dive into the materials that fda had posted on their website to see what their analysis had showed to see what their company analysis had showed. it's great the meeting today, the questions, deliberations are open to the public. the reason that's so important is during this pandemic there's been a lot of political interference. interference in terms of drugs being pushed, the fda being pushed to approve things that
some felt were not of the quality that should be approved, and so for this process to go forward it has to be seen as one where science is ruling the day. without that we're not going to see the increase in people's desire to get this vaccine. and as you know, the polling data show that there are quite a lot of people in this country who have concerns about safety, concerns about the speed by which these vaccines have been developed and tested. and much higher rates of concern among communities of color. communities that have been, historically, mistreated by the public health system, by the medical community. communities hit really hard by this pandemic. >> that's what i was going to ask you. the latest polling has it at 61% of americans say they're willing to get the vaccine. how do you get that number to 70, 75%? kind of the level that we've been told they need people across the country the level --
the percentage of americans to get the vaccine for it to be really effective. how do you get there? >> a number of things are going to have to take place. one is the transparency of the approval process. that's really key that people believe that it was done fairly. that the same standards that are normally in place are in place here. that's what i'm going to be looking for, as i think about weath weather to recommend this to my 90-year-old parents, whether i recommend it to the families of my pediatric patients whether i want to personally get in line, that's important to me. beyond that it's critical for health departments to be working with communities, community leaders, identifying trusted voices so the concerns people have can be addressed. you're not going to get to 70% by haranguing people. by not respecting people's concerns. you have to address those, you have to do a lot of listening. and recognize that some people
are going to wait. they're going to wait until the first few million have been out there. they're going to wait to see, as this is given to people who do meet the criteria for a trial, whether it's still safe and effective in the same way. so what this committee says in terms of how you monitor and look for that, the information out of the uk in terms of two people having a severe allergic reaction, that's important information because that could change how you look to administer the vaccine to people who have had a history of allergic reactions. but more data like that is important to increase the levels of trust that we want to see. >> doctor, thank you. >> thanks, kate. coming up, once a vaccine gets a green light it's up to each state to get millions of shots where they need to be. what are they to do if they don't get enough? the head of maine's cdc is our guest. plus president trump and 18
we are continuing to follow this critical meeting of the fda advisory panel set to decide on emergency use authorization of pfizer's coronavirus vaccine. so immediately after it gets the green light, which is expected, pfizer is expected to kick into high gear to get the vaccine shipped out. and then it's all up to the governors and top health officials in all 50 states to get these shots into people's arms. it's a massive challenge in the race to beat the pandemic. joining me right now is dr. shaw, one of the top officials in charge of vaccine distribution in the state of maine. he's the director of maine's cdc. thank you for being here,
doctor. do you have a clear sense of how many doses you'll be receiving in the first shipment? >> we do. and thank you for having me on on such a momentous day. we have been working with colleagues at operation warp speed and the u.s. cdc and we have clarity on what the number of doses we will receive in the first week and then weeks two and three, we understand from our colleagues at warp speed they're working with manufacturing to project what we may receive in weeks four, five and six, which better enables us to make our decisions. >> in the first shipment, is it enough? how far is it going to get you? >> what we've been briefed on for months now, on day one, whenever the first shipment arrives it won't be enough for every person in maine who may want or need the vaccine. we're anticipating in our first week shipment enough vaccine for the first dose for about 12,600 people.
that is not what any of us would have wanted it to be, that's a challenge and it's one our department has been facing for many months. unfortunately that has prompted us to have to make difficult, unsavory choices. we followed the cdc recommendations and we are going to be working with health care providers as well as the vulnerable patients they care for to make sure they get vaccinated first. >> you laid out pretty detailed -- some details on the plans for how the state is going to store and distribute the vaccine. for example, i was struck, you wrote about this, you wrote about this last week. you wrote the phase we're at right now is figuring out how many cubic feet of space hospitals have in their freezers. the level of detail you are into at this point i find fascinating. why this level of detail? >> early on we started running the race and now we were -- a couple weeks ago we were in the last mile. right now we are in the last few
week. i think of it like a relay race. just like in any relay race. before the baton is handed to you, you have to start running. we've been running now for weeks. where we are right now is in recognition that those little small, seemingly granular details can make the difference whether, for example, a hospital can accommodate 975 doses of vaccine or alternative whether they need to have a vaccine diverted elsewhere and have it be piecemealed to them. if we don't think through those details, not just the last mile but the last few feet, if we don't think those through now we won't be able to get through my goals, which is to vaccinate with velocity and equity. that's why the planning is so critical. >> what does the lobster industry have to do with all this? >> our robust seafood industry dry ice is a thing. there are distributors of dry
ice that are well known to all of us. as a result of that, the throughput, the supply chain of dry ice is something that helps us make sure that vaccine can be shipped outside the ultra cold freezer environment for a number of days without the risk of spoilage. so we owe a debt of gratitude to our fomm folks in the seafood industry with dry ice helping us get vaccines across the state. our goal is to vaccinate with velocity and equity. in a state like maine, keeping in mind that equity is a top consideration for us. >> the lobster industry to the rescue. what are you most concerned about or nervous about or focused on as the massive effort is getting under way? >> you're right. it's a massive effort. this is what public health does every day. my team and i we come into work
every day and tackle what is seemingly impossible on a daily basis. but even for us this will be a significant challenge. there are a few things that we are focused on right now in our problem solving mode. the first is making sure we thought the process through to the last few inches, making sure our i.t. system knows where vaccines are at any moment and can spot instances of vaccines not being administered in a timely fashion. so the i.t. architecture is a top priority. and then there's consideration, having the vaccine is good but unless people take it it doesn't get us anywhere. so a top priority is to communicate with folks to answer their questions. when we encounter people hesitant about vaccines we treat it as a high debate match. and that has never changed anyone's mind, let alone their
behavior. what we want is to get folks on the fence to come to our side to get vaccinated. that's a big focus of mine right now. >> doctor, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> still ahead, president trump's latest long shot dead end attempt to overturn the results of the election. the texas attorney general now suing four battleground states that president trump lost. ♪ here's to the duers. to all the people who realize they can du more
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we could hear, as early as this afternoon, what the supreme court plans to do with a new legal challenge from president trump to the already decided presidential election. to call it a long shot is beyond charitiable. what's startling about this one isn't that the president involved it's that he has 18 states attorneys general now in on it too. it originated with the texas attorney general asking the highest court in the land to throw out the results in four states none of them texas all of them battleground states, michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania, and georgia, all
of them states that donald trump lost. this asks the supreme court to disenfranchise 20 million voters. that's what they're asking. let's bring in jessica snyder. can you take us through this lawsuit? >> reporter: first the supreme court has to agree to let texas file this case and that is a major procedural hurdle in itself. the supreme court it does have this what's called original jurisdiction in state versus state disputes but that's typically meant for border disagreements or lawsuits over water rights. this is a case where texas is suing to stop millions of votes in four battleground states from being counted and it's a case where texas is calling into question the election procedures in those states. mind you, election procedure is typically left for states to decide for themselves, that's all spelled out in the constitution. in this case the texas attorney general is asking the court to stop the certification process and in turn let the republican
led legislatures of these four battleground states decide the winner of the presidential race. this is all because the texas ag is arguing that the changes made to broaden out mail-in voting in the states because of covid were unconstitutional. he says because the decisions in many cases were made of secretaries of state and governors and not the state legislatures. so this is a dispute that probably should be brought in the lower court first but if the supreme court does decide it will allow it, it's possible it will shut it down as fast as we saw earlier this week when the supreme court denied a request from republicans in if pennsylvania to invalidate 2.5 million absentee ballots. what's also important to point out is that this case is being brought by the texas ag, ken paxton, he's under federal investigation in a separate criminal indictment. so this could all be part of a pardon play, possibly, from the
president because ken paxton is putting this forward. but regardless the supreme court has to agree in the first place to take this case up. so we will see in probably the next day or two. >> thank you very much. the details do matter. joining me now is the former governor of ohio, john kasich. governor, if we can set aside that according to all the people i've heard from that this lawsuit isn't going anywhere, what is going on here, 18 attorneys general are now in on this. >> kate, what i wonder about is what happens in their offices when somebody comes in and suggests that they ought to file a brief, friend of the court brief, i was talking to my legal council last night and i said what would you have done if somebody asked you to come in when i was governor and to pursue this, he said, i would never have come in your office because you would have told me to leave and made me go home and
soak my head in a bucket of water. it's unbelievable. i think, over time, this has the possibility of damaging their political careers. if i were a candidate against him, i would absolutely bring this up. but kate, there's another thing we have to think about here and it is about -- it's about america. you know, in america you have the ability to go to a court on any idea you have, even if it's stupid, like this thing is. that's one of the institutions that, you know, people have high regard for, and i hope we can keep it. and so, you know, it's very interesting to see how the court will react and presidents put people in courts and they think they know how they're going to behave. but once you get on that court it seems as if people decide they need to work in the public interest not in a narrow interest, that their personal philosophy matters but somehow they figure out a way to overcome that to make decisions more just for the country. you have to give john roberts a lot of credit for keeping that
court together but this is unconscionab unconscionab unconscionable. i was so angry i was on last night talking about it, i cooled off, but it's a joke. >> john kasich's cool off is like everyone else's 150, so we know where we're at today. >> kate. >> you said the way it is it's stupid. but you have at its most basic you have states telling other states how to run their elections or they're trying to. i'm struck by, if that is where republican principles and ideals are right now, where is this headed -- >> wait, wait, kate. >> i'm not saying -- i'm saying some republicans. >> wait, wait. republican principles and ideals among these leaders went out the window about five years ago. you can't even tell me what the republican party stands for anymore. i really don't know. do they have a position on health care? i haven't heard one. do they have a position on immigration? i haven't heard one. do they have a position on
something they used to care about, which is the rising debt in america? i haven't heard one. what's their position on the environment? ignore it. >> that's been our ongoing joke. you're the last republican in the country that still cares about the deficit and debt. that's been an ongoing joke that you and i discussed. >> some people say what happened to kasich, is he changed? no, i didn't leave the party, the party left me. i have been a free trader, balanced budgets, cut taxes. i care about people that don't have much. i care about the environment. i'm a conservative republican. the rest of these people, they're out to lunch. look, they can't even figure out how to pass a pandemic relief bill down there. >> that's a whole -- that's something -- >> that's on both sides for that. >> we're going to table that one because i want to have you back on to really drill into the stimulus. let's see if we can talk about it tomorrow. sticking with this moment we're
at, the ag out of texas, paxton, he's under investigation as jessica snyder pointed out and a smart election attorney that so many people leaned on, said this morning that this looks like it's paxton's auditioning for a trump pardon. do you think that's what this is? >> i don't know. i don't want to speculation on that. ben ginsburg, just so everybody knows, he's a republican who's been involved in all of these cases. but ben left that job. he kind of sensed, as i'm going to speculate, he kind of sensed he was going to be hauled into stuff he didn't want to participate in so he left. he's a man of great integrity. but in terms of his predictions about why this guy has done this, i don't know. what about the other 17? why are they joining in? the political calculus must be it's a win-win. the case doesn't go anywhere in the court but i make the trump base happy.
>> that's the question. what are the consequences for this? because i don't see what they are right now. >> it has to be in the primary, i think, and in the general. if you were trying to obscure the results of a presidential election where even the attorney general, who now according to reports some people think he'll resign early, some people think trump will fire him because he had the gal to come out and say we haven't found any fraud. at some point there is going to be some return to normalcy or this party, in my opinion, even though we have all these votes based primarily on culture will begin to wither away if they don't get their act together and stand for something. >> when is the big question. it's not just the ags. one person as an example, ted cruz he said he would argue the case in the supreme court on behalf of the president . a reminder of what ted cruz has said about the president's capacity to tell the truth in
the past. this is from 2016. >> i'll tell you what i think of donald trump. this man is a pathological liar. he doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. he lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. the man cannot tell the truth but he combines it with being a far narcissist. a narcissist at a level i don't think this country has ever seen. >> donald trump loses and ted cruz and many republicans are still doing what he wants. is this going to go away in 40 days when he's out? >> i think that over time -- look, it's a great debate question as to whether -- is trump going to fade and influence going to dwindle? i think it will over time but it's not going to happen immediately. look, for me i stood on the stage and watched all of this. at the end, i didn't go to the convention in my state and didn't endorse donald trump. but if he -- frankly, you know,
i got a call one time wanting me to support his health care plan. i said, no, i can't support it. i told you what i thought was wrong with yours. i don't have any disdain for the guy, i just don't agree with him, i don't support him, i'm disappointed in what we have seen, i'm bitter about the way they rolled out the vaccine and everything else. so, look, i try not to per son fie my look at this person or that person, i try to keep it out of bounds. what i'm watching today is a ridiculous merry go round of bankrupt morality when it comes to these people engaging in this lawsuit. >> ridiculous is also what's happening on capitol hill over the stimulus. that's part two of our conversation. maybe we'll do that tomorrow. good to see you, thanks, governor. >> all right, kate. thank you. >> thank you. coming up next, the cdc saying today the number of coronavirus cases in the united states could be seven times greater than what has been reported. to be honest...a little dust? it never bothered me.
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occupied in in one third of hospitals nationwide. the crisis growing especially dire in california. more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed just yesterday. that is a new record. and the number of people hospitalized with the virus is now soaring to almost 12,000 in the state. that is also a record. here's what l.a. county's health director is saying about what things -- where things are headed. >> we will bear witness to a significant rise in the number of people who are dying. this is the most dangerous time for l.a. county. >> joining me right now is dr. ashih jha. the dean of the brown university school of health. this new government data is something you've been focused and concerned about. the dangerous nature of what is happening in hospitals and what it means. you also say it's a bit counter intuitive. what's going on here?
>> thank you for having me on. things are really bad. what we have seen over the last few weeks is a sharp rise in infections. and what we know from the beginning of the pandemic is infections are followed by hospitalizations which are then followed by death. and what is happening across hospitals is actually, and this is going to sound counterintuitive, the admission rate is starting to fall. it's not because all of a sudden people have gotten healthier, it's because we're running out of beds. when you run out of beds you can't admit everybody that needs hospital care. you see that in many places across the country and that means many more people will die than is necessary. >> it's terrifying. that's terrifying dr. jha. >> yeah, first it is terrifying. it's awful. it was also completely predictab predictable. unfortunately what has happened is that our federal government over the last two, three months has thrown in the towel. it isn't even trying anymore to
be helpful on this. the impact is not just on people with covid. it's impact on anybody who needs hospital care. the hospitals are running out of beds for everybody. so it's a broader public health problem than just a covid problem. >> to add to that, a cdc official just told the vaccine advisory panel that reported number of deaths -- cases and deaths in the united states, they believe are wildly under estimated saying the total infections, the number of cases could be two to seven times greater than what's been reported, if that is what the reality is, what does that mean? >> so we've not the testing infrastructure that we need since march. that means we've missed a lot of cases over time, a lot of infections. my best bet is right now about 15 million americans have been identified. that's about 5% of the population. i think most of us think the
real number is 20%, so four times that number. there are a lot of people who have gotten infected and there have been a lot of deaths that have not been classified as koe-have you hkoe covid related. so as awful as the numbers are that we see on the screen, they're clearly an underestimate of what's happening. >> if we keep seeing 200,000 cases per day, even with that being under estimated possibly, over let's say the next month, what is it going to look like? >> yeah. so, you know, we're really in this very funny moment because -- >> because there's hope out there but we're not there. >> oh my god, four to six weeks of awfulness we'll have 2 to 3,000 deaths a day every day, day on day, week on week, until the vaccines get widely deployed. so the hope is so incredibly bright but it's just about six,
eight weeks away before we see the impact of the vaccine. we got to find a way to get through these next six weeks without losing people. one key thing i say, anybody who gets infected tomorrow and dies in three weeks that's something that could have gotten vaccinated two months from now. we have to protect people to get through the next couple of months. >> finally, i want to ask you, republican senator ron johnson he held another hearing on the pandemic and once again chose not to focus on the proven science that you have been discussing with me but instead to focus on pushing the unproven drug, hydroxychloroquine, questioning the effectiveness of masks and social distancing, even bringing on testify a vaccine skeptic. i want to play you something that senator johnson said at this hearing. >> i hope anybody who's written a nasty article or read a nasty article or given a nasty opening statement, i hope they listen to both hearings and have an open
mind and just ask themselves, why haven't we given these cheap and available and safe pharmaceuticals a shot at trying to stop this covid crisis? it boggles my mind. >> we talked about this before, you clashed with johnson at the last hearing about this had. he's not giving up on it. >> yeah. you know, this is a strawman. we have given it a chance. it's not like no one has bothered studying hydroxychloroquine and we just rejected it out of hand. in fact, the opposite. hydroxychloroquine was used widely and we studied it to see if it actually worked. it doesn't work. so peddling false hope is not what we need right now. i wish hydroxychloroquine worked, it doesn't. that's what the science said. he brought up other therapies we have no idea if any of them work, we should study them. but until we know it works we
shouldn't promise people they have these miracle therapies. that's not what's happening right now. the medical science and the -- the medical and scientific field is trying hard to come up with treatments but we need science to guide us, not false hope. >> at this point in the pandemic that's where this critical senate committee is focused. doctor, thank you. >> thank you so much, kate. coming up, president-elect joe biden announcing more members of his cabinet and top staff who he wants to lead the department of veterans affairs. we're live in delaware next. the cloud easier to manage. but we didn't stop there. we made a cloud flexible enough to adapt to any size business. no matter what it does, or how it changes. and we kept going. so you only pay for what you use. because at dell technologies, we stop...at nothing. ♪
cabinet today, including who he wants to lead department of veteran's affairs. the choice is another familiar face who is also no stranger to the inner workings of the white house. cnn's jessica dean is in wilmington, delaware, joining us now. tell us about biden's pick for the va. >> reporter: well, biden has tapped dennis mcdonough to lead department of veteran's affairs. for so many of the reasons you just listed, he was long time chief of staff to president obama and biden has a long-standing relationship with him. again, that's a theme we have seen time and time again throughout this process, he continues to go back to people that he knows, feels comfortable with, has a long-standing relationship with, and mcdonough certainly fills that role. department of veteran's affairs is one of the most challenging agencies and they really wanted someone that knew how to pull the levers of government, stunld the bureaucracy, knew how to work through the challenges they face leading the department of veteran's affairs.
they felt like mcdonough fit the bill. we are expecting to be introduced to him and others at an event in wilmington tomorrow, kate. >> another familiar face joining biden's team, former ambassador to the u.n., susan rice, they're announcing, taking on a domestic role. tell us more about it. >> reporter: right. again, this is another person that fits into that box, long-standing relationship with joe biden and immense trust between the two of them. susan rice served as national security adviser during the obama administration and was in the mix for potential vice president, but also to potentially be the secretary of state. now we see her landing as director of the domestic policy council and we're told that that's going to be focused on biden's domestic policy, of course, goes without saying, but that's about build back better. heard him talk about that on the campaign trail. that's his entire agenda, it
includes things from infrastructure, touches climate change, clean energy. there's a lot they want to do. again, they wanted someone who understood inner workings of the government, someone who had been there, understands how all of the pieces fit together and for them, that was susan rice. she will be there again at that event tomorrow, introduced at that event tomorrow, kate. >> jessica, thank you. still ahead, the fda panel considering authorization of the pfizer vaccine is about to hear directly from pfizer on their data. stay with us.
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hello, everybody. welcome to our viewers in theist and around the world. john king in washington. thank you for sharing this very, very important day with us. today's fda meeting agenda focuses on a single question, with pandemic altering implications. >> we will have a single question for the committee to vote on. the question is based on totality of scientific evidence available, do the benefits of the pfizer biontech for use in 16 years of age and older. >> this vaccine decision comes at a harrowing coronavirus moment.