While I have great respect for the scientific integrity of Pfizer’s research and development group, terrible things have happened when a federal agency took a manufacturer’s word that its product was safe.
Therefore, the FDA will need to get the relevant vaccine trial data (this will take time) and conduct its independent review. One month to review this volume of data would be record-breaking. However, given the novelty of the product (no mRNA vaccine has ever been approved) and the shortcuts being taken for Operation Warp Speed, an independent advisory committee of medical and statistical experts will also need to review the data. If all give up their holidays, a recommendation could be made at the end of December. However, if there are any hold-ups at all, there will be a further delay.
Then the supply chain needs to be filled and the drug delivered to the professionals who will administer it.
It is reported that Pfizer’s product may require ultra-cold storage at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of specialized storage is not available in your typical doctor’s office; it is found in universities and research centers. If the vaccine that’s first out of the gate does require this kind of storage, the logistics of distribution will be daunting. Even if the military is mobilized to distribute the vaccine, the hurdles will be formidable. Suppose a second vaccine is approved rapidly. In that case, the complexity will multiply, since the vaccines are not interchangeable: You must have the same vaccine for both shots.