FDA fully approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

SPOKANE, Wash — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people 16 and older.  Doctors say they hope this will make more people get the vaccine.  One hesitation people had before that’s now removed, is the FDA approval.

Currently, this vaccine is only FDA-approved for those 16 and older, but those 12-15 are receiving the vaccine under the emergency use authorization. Dr. Anna Wald from the University of Washington said this stood out to her because most of the time, we do vaccines the other way around.

“In some ways, most vaccines are used in kids and not in adults so we have a different approach here is we took care of adults first because their risk of being very sick and dying of COVID is much higher. And now we’re seeing some kids who also have a lot of illness,” Dr. Wald said.

Dr. Wald said usually approval takes a year or longer, and this was done in a matter of months. However, mRNA vaccines have been in development for more than 10 years, so it’s not like it’s a completely new product.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still under emergency use authorization.  However, in June Moderna began the process for full approval from the FDA.  It is not known when that could happen.

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