(ETH) – The Food and Drug Administration granted Pfizer and BioNTech full U.S. approval of their Covid-19 vaccine – becoming the first in the U.S. to win the coveted designation and giving even more businesses, schools, and universities greater confidence to adopt vaccine mandates.
According to CNBC, Up until now, the mRNA vaccine was on the U.S. market under an Emergency Use Authorization, which was granted by the FDA in December. Since then, more than 204 million of the Pfizer shots have been administered, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Federal health officials had been under mounting pressure from the scientific community and advocacy groups to fully approve Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine ever since the drugmakers submitted their application to the agency in early May. The companies submitted a Biologics License Application, which secures full approval, to the FDA on May 7 for patients age 16 and up.
CNN stated that out of more than 170 million people in the United States fully vaccinated against Covid-19, more than 92 million have received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Officials discussed this weekend how to prepare for the rollout once the FDA grants full approval, given it will be a major messaging opportunity to encourage vaccination.
Full approval could more vaccine mandates and perhaps increase uptake by some people who are vaccine-hesitant. US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that approval could encourage more people to get vaccinated, and more mandates.
“For businesses and universities that have been thinking about putting vaccine requirements in place in order to create safer spaces for people to work and learn, I think that this move from the FDA, when it comes, will actually help them to move forward with those kinds of plans,” Murthy told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.