The Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued its full stamp of approval for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, making it the first COVID shot to leave “emergency use authorization” after it was granted that status in December. (In a surprise, the FDA’s announcement said the shot will be marketed under the brand name Comirnaty.)
Now that the nation has its first fully authorized vaccine, it likely opens the door for more employers, schools, and other places to require the shots. Already on Monday morning, New York City announced it would mandate all education staff to be vaccinated, with no alternative for regular testing. Health officials also hope it will persuade some who remain hesitant about the vaccine to finally get the shot.
“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “While millions of people have already safely received Covid-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”
The FDA reportedly accelerated its timeline to fully approve the Pfizer shot before Labor Day, and similar approvals are being weighed for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines.