NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. – Monday marked a major step in the fight against COVID-19 as the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of Pfizer’s vaccine against the virus.
While the decision may tackle vaccine hesitancy, it’s also expected to spur vaccine mandates.
The anticipated decision replaces the emergency use approval that was made in December.
New River Health District Director Dr. Noelle Bissell said this may be an act of reassurance for vaccine-hesitant individuals.
“I do think that there are people that wanted to wait for that full approval and it will be very reassuring to them,” she said.
Carillion Clinic told 10 News in a statement that “they applaud” the FDA’s full approval of the vaccine and hope the approval will remove any remaining concerns for those unvaccinated.
They added that now ‘has never been a better time than to vaccinate if people are 12 and older.’
“Our medical experts, in tandem with our colleagues across the country, continue to endorse the safety and efficacy of available COVID-19 vaccines. Millions of data points have been reviewed to reach this decision, and we applaud the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine. We hope that full FDA approval removes any remaining concerns for community members waiting to get vaccinated. This approval confirms what we have experienced with our patients: the vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalizations.
On average, more than 90 percent of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. There has never been a better time than now for those 12 and older to get vaccinated and protect themselves and their loved ones. If you have questions, speak to your primary care provider or pharmacist.”Carillion Clinic Executive Vice President and CMO Dr. Patrice Weiss
In a press conference on Monday afternoon, President Joe Biden said he now wants companies to push for stronger vaccination requirements.
“Today, I’m calling on more companies in the private sector to step up with vaccine requirements that would reach millions of more people,” he said.
Though vaccine hesitancy is still at large, Bissell said the recent surge in hospitalizations is encouraging more to get vaccinated in the New River Valley.
“Our local pharmacies are seeing about twice the number of people requesting vaccines that was even just last week,” Bissell said. “So that’s a good thing.”
She expects the Delta variant surge in the New River Valley will reach its peak by the end of the month as she believes these factors will influence people’s decisions and will lead to a decline in cases by September.