Valley health officials hope for more vaccinations after FDA approves Pfizer

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- President Joe Biden called the FDA's approval of the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older a key milestone in the fight against COVID-19.

He again urged the tens of millions of Americans who remain unvaccinated to get protected against the dangerous Delta variant.

"The moment you've been waiting for is here," the President said. "It's time for you to go get your vaccination and get it today."

Monday's monumental decision comes a little more than eight months after the federal agency issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine.

For its full approval, the FDA says it reviewed updated clinical trial data, which showed that the Pfizer vaccine was 91% effective in preventing COVID-19.

They say the public can trust that the vaccine meets its high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality.

"By following our rigorous processes to evaluate this application, we hope those who have waited until now to make the choice to protect themselves and thereby also help protect their community by reducing the spread of COVID-19 will go and get vaccinated," FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks said.

Tulare County Public Health officials also hope Monday's announcement will convince some residents to get off the fence and get the shot.

But as the Delta variant spreads with menace, they say more and more people are choosing to roll up their sleeves.

"I think that this one item of it not going through the entire vetting process will cure a lot of people's concerns-not everyone's and I understand that," Tulare County Public Health Manager Tiffany Swarthout said. "But this combined with the increase in cases relating to Delta-we have seen an uptick in demand for vaccine over the past two weeks-and so I think that this is going to create the perfect opportunity for more people to get vaccinated who are concerned about the Delta variant and the FDA approval."

FDA officials also reaffirmed the Pfizer vaccine, which will now be marketed as Comirnaty, is effective at preventing hospitalization and death.

They listed the shot's most common side effects, including redness and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, and fever, and add Comirnaty will continue to be monitored for safety.
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