U.S. Vice President Pence says Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine could be approved Friday

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a briefing at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., December 4, 2020. REUTERS/Lynsey Weatherspoon

(Reuters) -U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. approval for Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine could come within hours later on Friday, after President Donald Trump tweeted that the vaccine had been approved.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made no public announcement yet regarding its decision, and redirected Reuters to its statement from Thursday that the agency was working to rapidly authorize the vaccine.

Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A panel of outside FDA advisers met to discuss Moderna’s vaccine on Thursday and an agency decision on its emergency use authorization was expected as soon as Friday.

The panel had endorsed its use with a 20-0 vote, and one abstention, that the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks.

The FDA, in a first, authorized Pfizer Inc’s coronavirus vaccine earlier this month.

Pence received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a White House event on Friday and President elect Joe Biden is expected to get the shot next week in an effort to boost confidence in the safety of the vaccine, which will become widely available to the public next year.

Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson and Shounak Dasgupta