Pfizer will ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine. The process, which begins on Friday, could bring the first shots as early as next month.

Friday's step comes days after Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced its vaccine appears 95% protective in a large but not yet finished study.

The so-called interim analysis looked at the first 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the more than 43,000 volunteers who got either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo.

It found that fewer than 10% of infections were in participants who had been given the vaccine. More than 90% of the cases were in people who had been given a placebo.

Over the next few weeks, the Food and Drug Administration and its scientific advisers will have to decide if there's really enough evidence to allow emergency vaccinations.

If so, first supplies will be scarce and rationed.

Experts warn it likely will be spring before there's enough for everyone.

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