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[WATCH] What Does FDA Approval of the Pfizer Vaccine Mean For Americans?

The US Food and Drug Administration granted full approval this week for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people 16 years of age and older. This is the first of the coronavirus vaccines to receive full approval from the FDA.

This new advancement has raised as many questions as it hopes to answer. What does full approval mean for those who are already vaccinated? What about for those who have yet to be vaccinated — could it help to reduce hesitancy, or are those worried about ‘forced’ mandates going to just dig in harder against the vaccines? Does it have any impact on expediting vaccines for younger children?

Brandon Rivera, a Los Angeles County emergency medical technician, gives a second does of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to Aaron Delgado, 16, at a pop up vaccine clinic in the Arleta neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, August 23, 2021. – The US Food and Drug Administration on August 23, fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid shot, triggering a new wave of vaccine mandates as the Delta variant batters the country.
Around 52 percent of the American population is fully vaccinated, but health authorities have hit a wall of vaccine hesitant people, impeding the national campaign. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

For months now, there have been three vaccines that were approved under emergency use authorization, or EUA. These are the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer was the first of the vaccines to receive the EUA, and it’s also the first of the vaccines that applied for full approval. Moderna’s vaccine is currently under review, and approval is expected within a matter of weeks. Johnson & Johnson’s request for full approval has not yet been submitted to the FDA.

Full FDA approval is a process that usually requires at least six months of safety data. The EUA was given after two months of safety data because this is a global pandemic and a public health emergency. Hundreds of millions of people around the world have now received the Pfizer vaccine, and there is more than enough evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective. The final stamp of approval came via the FDA on Monday, August 23rd.

Some polls, including from the Kaiser Family Foundation, have suggested that as many as 3 in 10 people cite lack of full approval as a primary reason for not getting the vaccine, but there will still be holdouts regardless of approval.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and an MSNBC Public Health Analyst, joined NBC’s Joshua Johnson to discuss the process behind full FDA approval and its possible impact on vaccination rates. Watch their discussion, below.



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