The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, its very first full approval for any SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Following the approval, the Pfizer jab will now be marketed as “Comirnaty”, a two-dose inoculation for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years and older.
Comirnaty, which is developed by American pharma-giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech, will still be available under emergency use authorisation, including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, says the FDA.
“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D.
“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.”
Business Insider writes that, following the news, public-health officials, virologists and legal experts are now anticipating that the full approval could aid in assuaging the hesitance of more people to get the jab, embolden more organisations to require immunisation and allow vaccine manufacturers to market their jabs to the public.
South Africa Opens Vaccines for All Adults
Last week, after several days of considerations and talks by the government, South Africa opened vaccinations for all adults (over 18s) in the country two weeks before the scheduled date. The decision was made due to the slowing of inoculations in SA as increasing vaccine hesitancy saw many vaccination sites across the country sitting empty.
Anti-vaccination attitude in the country had also been spreading as social media became aflood with misinformation and conspiracy theories about the jabs.
Health Department spokesperson Popo Maja said that opening the vaccination sites to those over 18 would help improve the overall vaccination rate and that the Department would be ready.
The early allowance of all over 18s to get vaccinated has boosted South Africa’s vaccination rate, which had decreased significantly a week prior. This increase is probably due to younger generations being more open to receiving the vaccine, which means that South Africa will face another decrease in daily inoculations after this crop of young people become immunised.
VACCINES PER DAY IN SA
Numbers started picking up again last week after being on the decline for a few weeks.
This past weekend was also the best weekend to date with almost 85k vaccines administered (previous best was about 66k which was 4 weeks ago). pic.twitter.com/kwb3m5Jk8O
— sugan naidoo (@sugan2503) August 23, 2021