Local health experts talk FDA approving Pfizer vaccine

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A big step Monday in the fight against COVID-19 as the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine.

The FDA making that announcement Monday morning, with President Joe Biden saying quote, “The moment you’ve been waiting for is here. It’s time for you to go get your vaccination. Get it today.”

According to the FDA, the vaccine known as the Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older, according to the FDA and the vaccine will continue to be available under the Emergency Use Authorization for individuals 12 through 15 years old.

“Now we have two categories of patients. One category of 16 and over that’s fully FDA approved and then our 12 to 15 old patients who will still be able to get the vaccine but it will be through the emergency use authorization, the same process as before,” said BSA Director of Pharmacy Jamie McCarrell.

Dr. Rodney Young, regional chair of family and community medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center said this approval will help people who are hesitant to get the vaccine due to it only having the Emergency Use Authorization.

“There will probably be some people that will feel a little better about going ahead and making the decision because they know, with confidence that a huge amount of information has been combed through to arrive at this decision that we have heard about today in terms of full approval,” Dr. Young.

Dr. Young said this new approval could lead to new mandates.

“I think what the bigger thing that might happen today is removing some of the barriers to mandates or requirements by other types of organizations that may now choose to require their employees or constituents, their populations that visit their faculties to be vaccinated before they can do so,” added Dr. Young.

The FDA approval doesn’t change how you get a vaccine as it will remain free of charge for those who want one.

McCarrell said they are hopeful that with more people feeling confident with the FDA approval and getting vaccinated, the hospitalization rate can get back to a more functional rate.

Both Dr. Young and McCarrell agree that the Moderna vaccine could be approved by the FDA soon.

“I would imagine that the Moderna vaccine will probably trail the Pfizer vaccine by weeks to a few months, but not a lot more than that,” said Dr. Young.

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