An FDA advisory panel made up of independent scientific and public health experts from around the country has endorsed the widespread distribution and use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Thursday, putting the United States one step closer to launching a vaccination campaign against the coronavirus pandemic that has killed close to 300,000 Americans.

The final decision about whether to authorize the vaccine for emergency use will be made by the FDA’s career officials.

Once the Food and Drug Administration signs off, as expected, on the expert committee’s recommendation the vaccinations could begin within days, likely by early next week. In a 17-4 vote with one abstention, the panel concluded that the vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech looks to be safe and effective for emergency use in adults and teenagers 16 and over.

The State of Florida will receive 179,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 within a week and according to Gov. Ron DeSantis, they will be used to vaccinate nursing home patients and health care workers most exposed to the coronavirus.

“Our top priority is residents of long-term care facilities,” DeSantis stated in a video. “They are at the greatest risk and this vaccine could have a positive impact on them, not just protecting them from COVID, but allowing them to return to a more normal life.”

Florida is set to receive 179,400 initial doses of Pfizer vaccine, as part of Operation Warp Speed, and will be delivered by UPS and Fed Ex.

“Also, a top priority is health care workers who are in high-risk and high-contact environments,” the governor said.