BENICIA (KPIX) — Full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is expected soon, according to reports.
The New York Times said Friday that the FDA was aiming to approve it on Monday, according to familiar parties.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines received emergency use authorization last December. The full approval could give public and private organizations more of a footing to enforce vaccine mandates and could be a key step to increase vaccination rates overall.
For Benicia residents Dan Foley and his wife, the vaccine has given them the ability to spend time with their granddaughter.
“I think it’s helped us. We’re able to get out and do things now,” Foley said.
Dr. Ronn Berrol, the medical director of the emergency department at Alta Bates Medical Center in Oakland says full authorization is a huge step to get more people vaccinated.
“It’s going to give us a lot more options to make sure we can protect the maximum amount of our population. I’m very excited about it,” Dr. Berrol said.
In the Bay Area where there is a mandate to either vaccinate or test weekly for many first responders, some firefighters were waiting for the official stamp of approval from the FDA.
While more may now decide to get the shot, union president Vincent Wells, who represents firefighters from seven counties opposes further mandates.
“We do support and encourage getting vaccinated in all our members and we provided them a lot of education in the topic but, at the same time, have the respect for them to make their decision,” Wells said.
Once Pfizer receives approval, the company is expected to ask the FDA to approve a booster shot. The Biden administration indicated this week that those who are vaccinated should consider getting a third dose eight months after being fully vaccinated.
“I heard we are supposed to get the booster in 45 days so that makes me feel a little bit better about the booster,” said Kelly Perfetto who lives in Benicia.
Regulators are currently examining data for the Moderna vaccine and FDA approval may come in a few weeks.
The Pentagon has said it plans to make vaccinations mandatory for more than a million of its active-duty members when the FDA gives the vaccine full approval.