The Food and Drug Administration has now granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which up until now only had emergency-use authorization, which was issued back in December of last year. The FDA is hoping the move will help win over vaccine skeptics.
The FDA has approved the two-dose vaccine for folks over the age of 16. As of right now, 204 million people in the country have now received the vaccine since the emergency use-authorization was first issued.
None of the three COVID-19 vaccines given emergency-use authorization by the FDA – also including those made by Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson – had previously received full FDA approval.
Public health officials hope it will convince more unvaccinated Americans that Pfizer’s shot is safe and effective. Vaccine hesitancy among some Americans has hindered the United States response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” Janet Woodcock, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s acting commissioner, went on to say about the vaccine.
Roughly 51% of Americans have been fully vaccinated so far, even as a recent surge of infections spurred by the contagious Delta variant ravages parts of the country with low vaccination rates.
The FDA approval was based on the updated information from the company’s clinical trial.
There have already been two U.S. cities, San Francisco and New York, that have started imposing rules requiring folks to be vaccinated before they can eat inside at restaurants or work in government offices, along with other kinds of activities.