Full FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine should mean higher vaccination rates in PA, health experts say

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — As the number of positive COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise across the country, health officials are hoping the FDA’s anticipated approval of the Pfizer vaccine will help slow the spread of the virus.

The FDA is expected to give full approval on Monday while COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for emergency use.

“The FDA certainly has been evaluating the application for full approval from Pfizer,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy,  U.S. Surgeon General. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they issued that full approval soon.”

Pennsylvania’s most recent COVID-19 report showed a gradual increase in positive cases since their year-to-date low in early July, prompting questions and concerns over mask mandates as children head back to the classroom for the 2021-2022 school year.

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“Pennsylvania has had a lot of success in our vaccination efforts, but 63% is not the goal,” Governor Tom Wolf previously said. “Sixty-three percent still leaves far too many eligible Pennsylvanians unvaccinated, which puts their communities at risk.”

Health experts have pointed to the vaccines ‘experimental treatment’ branding as a reason many unvaccinated people have chosen not to get the shot.

“I think that is a game-changing moment. It’ll be fully authorized. I think you’ll see a lot of businesses and other places say we’re going to require vaccination. I think that’s going to start happening sooner and sooner,” Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System, said.

The decision to fully approve Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine would also come as the U.S. experiences an average of 137,000 positive COVID-19 cases per day, which is up by approximately 230% in the last month.

According to reports, regulators were aiming for full approval by Friday of last week but were still finishing up paperwork. The report warns approval could slip past Monday if more time is needed.

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