On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 and older. The approval provides the FDA’s strongest endorsement to the Pfizer vaccine, which previously had been approved under an emergency use authorization.
The full FDA approval is expected to lead to an increase in vaccinations as those hesitant about the emergency use authorization may now be more willing to get the shot, and as employers and universities may now feel more comfortable mandating the vaccine for employees and students.
The Pfizer vaccine continues to be available to individuals ages 12 to 16 under the emergency use authorization. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still under emergency use authorization as well, however, both have applied to be considered for full FDA approval.
We spoke with Michelle Barron, MD, infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, about the FDA approval and what it means.