WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday granted its full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, after having previously allowed unapproved vaccines to be distributed on an “emergency use” basis in response to the pandemic, which has already claimed 625,000 lives in the U.S. alone.
Approval for the Pfizer jab was originally slated to come by Labor Day, but the FDA bumped up their schedule due to the recent increase in infections driven by the COVID-19 Delta variant, mainly among unvaccinated populations.
Experts are noting that the FDA’s approval may push some people who have been on the fence to finally get inoculated against the virus.
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In addition, some – including U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy – are also anticipating Monday’s announcement to increase the number of businesses and local governments and institutions that require vaccinations for schools and places of work, or access to entertainment venues, gyms, and restaurants.
“There are universities and businesses that have been considering putting in vaccine requirements in order to create a safer, a workplace, a learning environment,” Murthy said. “I think this announcement from the FDA would likely encourage them and make them feel more comfortable in putting some requirements in place.”
“We’ve given it to hundreds of millions of people,” Murthy added. “We’ve seen that it’s doing its job. And that’s why we’re continuing to recommend that people get vaccinated starting today and…as soon as they can.”