The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older. It will now be marketed as Comirnaty. The licensing process for vaccines usually takes about a year. By granting full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine just four months after the companies applied, Covid-19 vaccines have broken yet another speed record. More than 92 million in the U.S. have received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. “The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals,” according to the FDA.
Full approval will grant the vaccine manufacturers permission to advertise their products and allow them to continue selling them after the public health emergency around Covid-19 ends. For doctors, full approval will also allow them to use vaccines off-label, potentially as booster shots. Experts hope FDA approval could fight vaccine hesitancy. But convincing people to get shots is not the job of the FDA. Many large businesses, such as United Airlines, Disney, Walmart, Microsoft, Google and Facebook already have announced plans to require vaccination to their employees. Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days to do so; employees still working from home must provide proof of vaccination prior to their return to work.