The first COVID-19 vaccines to be given in the U.S. are expected to get a green light from regulators under a process known as emergency use authorization.

During a health crisis, the Food and Drug Administration can loosen its scientific standards to allow emergency use of experimental drugs, devices and vaccines if their benefits are likely to outweigh their risks.

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Full approval of a vaccine will likely take several more months, and the vaccine makers are not expected to complete that step until spring or summer.

Full approval would allow for vaccination of the general population.

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