Nearly nine months after it was approved for “Emergency Use Authorization (EUA),” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer and BioNTech.

What, however, does this designation mean?

Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at what may be happening next now that a COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the U.S. government’s health-safety authority.

What Does Full Approval Mean?

The FDA has completed its full review of the vaccine, following up on any potential long-term side effects conducted in clinical trials and in the millions of doses given since this vaccine was first available on Dec. 11, 2020.

EUAs can be issued in public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic when the FDA believes that the benefits of such a product can outweigh the known and potential risks of said product.

“While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a press release.

What Happens Next?

Health experts and government officials are hoping that the full approval will persuade some of the 29% of American adults who are eligible for the vaccine but have not yet taken it. Studies indicate up to 50% of that group was waiting for full FDA approval before getting a jab.

Additionally, expect more businesses, agencies, and even municipalities to require a vaccination before being able to work or even visit a venue. The Pentagon is now requiring U.S. service members to get a vaccine, as are large companies like Google, Facebook, and McDonald’s. New York City will soon require that people going inside a restaurant or a large venue like Madison Square Garden to be vaccinated.

The Next Steps

The full approval was only given for those 16 and older. Currently, people 12 years of age and older can get the Pfizer shot. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are the other two companies that have vaccines available in the U.S., and they are still in the middle of the approval process.

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