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The FDA announced Friday that Pfizer's vaccine had received approval for emergency use, becoming the first company to do so.

People in Huntsville expressed excitement Saturday, the day after the FDA announced Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine had been received emergency use approval.

Some said the announcement was a ray of hope in a period of darkness. Many said it was reason for excitement, regardless of whether or not they planned to get it.

“It’s great news, best news all year,” Lewis Allison said Saturday. “2020 has been a terrible year for this COVID, it’s been that way for people losing jobs, businesses shutting down. I can’t wait for this vaccine, I encourage everyone to go out and take it.”

Allison said he plans to take the vaccine as soon as it’s available. His hope is that it’ll be a big step towards getting back to the lives we once knew.

Even those who say they don’t plan to get the vaccine called the news an exciting milestone, but said it was concerning how quickly it was approved.

“And they’re thinking, ‘Okay, is this really going to be an effective vaccine? Is it going to be any issues with it?’ I think that’s the biggest -- because I hear a lot of people saying, ‘I’m not gonna take it, I’m not gonna take it’ and I happen to be one of those,” Kevin Page said.

Pfizer is the first company to receive the emergency use authorization -- with data claiming the vaccine is 95% effective. Moderna has also applied for authorization but is still awaiting approval.

On Thursday, before the vaccine had been approved, Huntsville Hospital’s infectious disease specialist, Dr. Ali Hassoun, said the side effects and reactions that have been identified with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are typical with other vaccines and shouldn’t be cause for concern.

“There hasn’t been any specific report of major, severe reactions or issues with it and that’s very encouraging,” Hassoun explained.

The first doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Alabama sometime next week. As previously noted, the early phases of distribution will vaccinate those in the very high-risk category, such as front line health care workers and nursing home patients.


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