The FDA officially gave full approval to the Pfizer COVID vaccine this morning. This is the COVID vaccine going from an Emergency Use Authorization to a full FDA approval.
Approval is expected to pave the way for vaccine mandates at schools, businesses, and other organizations. Many businesses have been waiting for full approval before requiring vaccination for workers.
A large percentage of people who are vaccine hesitant have said they’ll get the shot when it’s fully approved. Public health officials are hoping approval will lead to increased uptake for those who haven’t yet been vaccinated.
For those who are unvaccinated and don’t plan on getting the shot either way (about 45% of unvaccinated people), full approval might mean they face issues of employment or even increased insurance premiums.
Full approval also means that Pfizer can continue to sell the vaccine after the pandemic ends, and that they can start advertising it. It may also allow doctors to use their judgment for off-label uses, like booster doses. Separately, both Pfizer and Moderna have started the approval process for a third booster dose for fully vaccinated people. That will be a separate process, and we expect to hear more in the next few weeks.
Moderna is also likely to be fully approved by the FDA, though not for a few more weeks.