During an appearance on ABC News Friday morning, Health and Human Services Director Alex Azar said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would grant Emergency Use Authorization to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
Azar added that while the process for Emergency Use Authorization has not been finalized, he expects Americans to receive initial doses of the vaccine by "Monday or Tuesday of next week."
Azar's comments come a day after an FDA panel voted to recommend that the Pfizer vaccine be given Emergency Use Authorization.
In a joint statement released Friday morning, FDA head Dr. Stephen Hahn and Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said that the FDA would "rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization." They also said they had notified the CDC and federal authorities charged with distributing the vaccine "so they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution."
The Pfizer vaccine has already been approved for emergency use in Canada and the United Kingdom. The U.K. began distributing initial doses earlier this week.
The final push for a vaccine comes as cases of the virus spike to terrifying levels. More than 3,000 people died of COVID-19 on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project, and with the virus spreading at record levels, health officials warn that deaths could increase further.