It looks as though the first full approval of a COVID-19 vaccine will happen by January at the latest, according to the typical timeline for new therapies that are considered a priority by U.S. regulators.

Pfizer Inc. PFE, -0.07% announced Friday that the Food and Drug Administration has accepted the drug maker’s application for approval, granted the company’s vaccine a type of speedier designation called “Priority Review” that requires a decision within six months, and set a decision date for sometime in January. 

All of this is part of the normal process for bringing new drugs to Americans. 

What isn’t part of the standard process is that more than 186 million people in the U.S. have already been

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