WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has given full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer.
The Food and Drug Administration’s decision on Monday may help lift public confidence in vaccinations as the nation battles the most contagious coronavirus mutant yet. The FDA has never before had so much evidence to judge a shot’s safety.
More than 200 million doses already have been administered in the U.S. since emergency use began in December.
The decision could push some vaccine holdouts toward getting the shots. And it could spur more vaccine mandates by companies, universities and local governments.
The U.S. becomes the first country to fully approve the shot, according to Pfizer, and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement he hoped the decision “will help increase confidence in our vaccine, as vaccination remains the best tool we have to help protect lives.”
U.S. vaccinations bottomed out in July. As delta fills hospital beds, shots are on the rise again — with a million a day given Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Just over half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated with one of the country’s three options, from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.
The FDA’s action also may spur more vaccine mandates by companies, universities and local governments. This month New York City, New Orleans and San Francisco all imposed proof-of-vaccination requirements at restaurants, bars and other indoor venues. At the federal level, President Joe Biden is requiring government workers to sign forms attesting that they’ve been vaccinated or else submit to regular testing and other requirements.