Health officials in the U.S. will soon decide whether to grant emergency use authorizations, or EUAs, for at least two coronavirus vaccines. But just what does this mean? After all, EUAs are not the same thing as a full approval from the FDA. Health law scholar Christopher Robertson of Boston University and professor of medicine Jeremy Greene explain the history, rationale and possible pitfalls of this special mechanism that clears drugs for use in a major health emergency.

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Lynne Anderson

Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Tony Potts, a 69-year-old retiree, removes his face mask for a temperature check just before receiving his first injection in a phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna. Potts is one of 30,000 participants in the Moderna trial. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty ImageS

What are emergency use authorizations, and do they guarantee that a vaccine or drug is safe?

Christopher Robertson, Boston University; Jeremy Greene, Johns Hopkins University

The vaccines that will first be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will have gone through a special approval process with the FDA. But just what is this expedited process?

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