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How the Pfizer vaccine’s full approval will impact Sedgwick County

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Big news on the fight against COVID-19, the FDA has granted full approval to Pfizer’s vaccine for those 16 and older. A first for any COVID vaccine. It’s also something medical experts hope will lead to more voluntary vaccinations.

Sedgwick County won’t open its large vaccine site until Wednesday. However, Christine Steward, Sedgwick County Health Department, said they are in the process of preparing for an uptick of people now that the vaccine has full approval.

“We have been preparing for this. We have known that this was coming even from the beginning, and the other vaccines might be going through they are getting to go through full approval as well,” said Steward.

Fully approved, the announcement Monday may sway some to get the vaccine now.

“The FDA is a big company, so having that approval can make people feel safer about taking the vaccine,” said Fredrick Freeman Jr., Sedgwick County resident.

But not everyone thinks full approval will be enough to boost numbers.

“I think still that will only get us up to 60% nationwide,” said James T. Manuszak, Sedgwick County resident.

The health department said they know people have been waiting for the FDA authorization based on past surveys. They even added staff for a possible increase in people seeking the shot.

“We are glad for it to happen if it brings more people in the be vaccinated,” said Steward.

Steward said the full approval of Pfizer could lead to mandates to get the vaccine.

“That could be a consideration. I don’t have full facts on that, but states are looking at that I know. Businesses are once that full approval comes. Then, there is more teeth I guess for businesses and agencies to require vaccines,” said Steward.

Some people said it might be the only solution.

“We never are going to get through this if people don’t get vaccinated,” said Mary Heinrich.

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