Full FDA approval for COVID-19 vaccines could ease vaccine hesitancy: expert

COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out administered without full approval from the Food Drug Administration (FDA) – while the drugs have been permitted under emergency use authorizations (EUA), some experts eye full approval to encourage those reluctant to roll their sleeves.

The FDA accepted Pfizer’s application on Friday for full approval of the COVID-19 vaccine more than a year after it was developed with BioNTech, as the delta variant surges.

The FDA granted the application priority review, will weigh full approval for the vaccine in people 16 up by January, though a spokesperson at the FDA told Fox News last week the agency expects to complete the review “far in advance” of the January target date. The application approval could pave the way for the official approval of the other two vaccines, Moderna, which filed its application last month, Johnson & Johnson.

The FDA granted Pfizer’s application priority review how it could pave the way for Maderna Johnson & Johnson. (iStock) 

More than 182.7 million people in the U.S. (more than half of the total population) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), since the FDA granted emergency use authorization in December. And the urgency to get more Americans vaccinated comes as the delta variant of coronavirus cases continues to rise across the country. 

Pfizer, Moderna Johnson & Johnson all received their EUA, which mandated that the companies follow a set of guidelines calling for safety data from clinical trials information on its quality consistency, according to ScienceMag.org.


Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer BioNTech Moderna already submitted applications for full approval for their vaccines to the FDA on May 7 June 1 to begin regulatory review. J&J is expected to also file, however, the company had a few setbacks after the FDA announced a warning earlier this month of a possible link to Guillain-Barré, a rare autoimmune nerve disorder. The agency revised the vaccine’s fact sheets to show an increased risk of the disorder following inoculation. 

The difference between an EUA full FDA approval involves further review of data over a longer time period, Science Mag reported.

After applications are filed, FDA then reviews them to ensure completion for the first 60 days further analyzes data related to safety, effectiveness manufacturing quality before issuing full approval, according to Science Mag.


Full FDA approval will allow vaccines to be used marketed directly to consumers in the post-pandemic. The FDA’s approval will likely promote more unvaccinated Americans to get their shots. Around a third of unvaccinated adults said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if one of the COVID-19 vaccines earned full FDA approval, according to a June survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Diego, told Science Mag Wednesday that full, FDA approval “could help win over skeptics.” 

“It means something to people for it to be approved,” Gandhi told the outlet. “It just seems like the simplest, easiest thing we could be doing right now.”

Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.

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