WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s hoping for an uptick in the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations following U.S. government approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
The top infectious disease expert in the U.S. says the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Monday should encourage people who cited lack of approval as a reason for not getting vaccinated. The FDA previously had cleared the Pfizer shots for use on an emergency basis.
Fauci told NBC’s “Today Show” that FDA approval will mean more “enthusiasm” for vaccine mandates by workplaces, colleges and universities, and the military. He says it will help boost U.S. vaccination rates.
The FDA’s decision clears Pfizer to advertise the vaccine, which Fauci says should help. Government data show just under half of the U.S. population remains unvaccinated.
More than 200 million Pfizer doses have been administered in the U.S. under special emergency provisions — and hundreds of millions more worldwide — since December. In going a step further and granting full approval, the Food and Drug Administration cited months of real-world evidence that serious side effects are extremely rare.
President Joe Biden said Monday that for those who hesitated to get the vaccine until it received what he dubbed the “gold standard” of FDA approval, “the moment you’ve been waiting for is here.”
“Please get vaccinated today,” he said.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called the FDA's action “an important milestone that I think will unlock some of the more skeptical minds.”
Pfizer said the U.S. is the first country to grant full approval of its vaccine, in a process that required a 360,000-page application and rigorous inspections. Never before has the FDA has so much evidence to judge a shot's safety.
The formula, jointly developed with Germany's BioNTech, will be marketed under the brand name Comirnaty.