FDA grants Pfizer Vaccine full approval

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – On Monday, the FDA gave the Pfizer vaccine full approval- taking it beyond emergency use Authorization. 

“Certainly it’s something that we’ve been waiting for for a long time. I think for our community it hopefully gives those who have needed that piece of information and reassurance that this is indeed a safe and effective product,” says Dr. Jay Sizemore, Erlanger Infectious Disease.

Pfizer says it presented the F.D.A. with data from 44,000 clinical trial participants and that the data showed the vaccine was 91 percent effective in preventing infection —just a slight drop from the 95 percent efficacy rate the data showed when the F.D.A. decided to authorize the vaccine for emergency use in December.

When asked if this new approval might encourage the nonvaccinated to get the vaccine, some News 12 viewers commented “ FDA approval doesn’t mean much” and “rushing the approval isn’t going to help people get vaccinated.”

“FDA approval does sometimes take a long period of time and one of the bigger reasons is that you want to accumulate a certain number of people who have taken something to feel good about its safety and efficacy. That’s not a problem this time. It has been remarkable so far that the number of shots given with severe side effects is just vanishingly rare,” says Dr. Mark Anderson, CHI Memorial Infectious Disease.

Experts say this full approval could pave the way for more vaccine mandates at local companies and businesses.

“Businesses will look at this and feel that they are in a position where they can mandate the vaccines to help keep their employees safe and so they can get back to the business of just doing business,” says Dr. Fernando Urrego, Interim Health Officer at Hamilton County Health Department. 

The full approval is for ages 16 and older, but the Pfizer vaccine will continue to be authorized for emergency use in children ages 12 to 15. 

For more vaccine information and a location list where you can get your vaccination, click here


Categories: Chattanooga, COVID-19, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News, Regional News