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A nurse preparing an injection of Pfizer-BioNtech's covid-19 vaccine in Belfast on Dec. 6. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)

A CDC panel voted 11 to 0 to recommend Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate for people 16 years and older on Saturday.

Why it matters: The recommendation moves the U.S. one step closer to immunizing Americans after the virus has killed more than 296,000 people in the country.

Of note: CDC Director Robert Redfield still needs to approve the recommendation from the the outside group of medical experts before vaccines can be administered.

  • He is expected to accept it within hours, CNN reports.
  • Three panel members recused themselves from the vote because of conflicts of interest.

The big picture: The recommendation follows the Food and Drug Administration's Friday approval of Pfizer-BioNTech's emergency use authorization application.

  • The U.K. became the first country to grant emergency approval for the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 2, followed by Bahrain and Canada.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Updated 21 hours ago - Sports

2 tennis players test positive for coronavirus ahead of Australian Open

A tennis player (C) leaves hotel quarantine for a training session in Melbourne on Tuesday. The players to test positive for COVID-19 have not been publicly identified. Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Two tennis players are among seven people involved in the Australian Open to test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Melbourne, health authorities in the state of Victoria said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Some tennis stars including men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic had sent a letter demanding Victorian authorities ease strict coronavirus quarantine rules for players ahead of the season-opening tennis major's start on Feb. 8.