WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is once again urging Americans to get vaccinated after the U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday, potentially boosting public confidence in the shots and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.
On Monday, federal health officials said they hope the approval prompts more Americans to get the shots. In line with many public health professionals across the country, Dr. Robert Citronberg, Director of Infectious Diseases at Advocate Aurora Health, celebrated the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older.
“Yeah, it’s a great day,” Citronberg said. “A lot of people have been holding out for FDA approval. They feel that gives them another layer of security and comfort before getting the vaccine.”
Since last December, more than 200 million Pfizer doses have been administered in the United States under Emergency Use Authorization. The FDA studied data from tens of thousands of clinical trial participants and found the vaccine is 91% effective during the approval process. Regulators hope that will boost confidence in the shot, as they aim to eliminate misinformation that’s kept those that were hesitant of the vaccine away.
“We’ve heard false claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility, contain microchips and cause COVID-19 and worse. We’ve heard false claims that thousands of people have died from the vaccine. Let me be clear these claims are simply not true. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can save your life.”
Biden reiterated the importance of the vaccine.
“People are dying and will die who don’t have to, so please, please, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do it now. You could save your life and the lives of those you love,” the president said.
Appealing to the unvaccinated on Monday, Biden also urged employers to mandate it.
“If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader who has been waiting for full approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that. Require it.”
Dr. Citronberg expects more employers to begin those requirements in just a matter of weeks, and with this FDA approval – the Pfizer vaccine will soon be marketed to the public under the name Comirnaty.
“You’ll see advertisements. You’ll see commercials, which I think is good because anything you can do – anything that can increase public awareness about vaccination is helpful.”
The Moderna vaccine is also in the approval process, which health officials say is about three weeks behind. Doctors anticipate it will be fully approved next month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.