Full FDA Approval Of Pfizer's Covid-19 Vaccine Had Only A Modest Impact On Uptake


Full FDA Approval Of Pfizer's Covid-19 Vaccine Had Only A Modest Impact On Uptake

Despite hopes that full approval of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine would convince large numbers of vaccine-hesitant Americans to roll up their sleeves, a federal government analysis suggests approval was not a silver bullet.

After the US Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer's shot in August, Pfizer vaccination rates did increase, but the uptick was short-lived.

According to a poll, another factor is more persuasive than full approval and that’s fear of dying of Covid-19 or of missing out on activities such as travel, concerts or sporting events that require vaccination. 

This leaves federal officials in the middle of a long slog to get unvaccinated Americans to finally get vaccinated and help put an end to the pandemic. Currently, 75.8% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

On August 23, the day the FDA issued full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine, President Joe Biden pleaded with unvaccinated Americans. Biden had good reason for optimism. According to a poll conducted in June, about half of people who were taking a "wait and see" approach to vaccination said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if the FDA fully approved one of the Covid-19 vaccines.

From August 23 to September 3, the seven-day average of the administration of Pfizer doses increased from 575,000 per day to 668,000 per day.

Of course, an increase in vaccination rates can be due to many factors, but the increase in Pfizer's vaccine following approval is especially notable because in the weeks prior to full approval. After September 4, the seven-day averages for both vaccines started to decline.

A September poll might help explain why full licensure didn't have more of an effect. In that survey, only 15% of recently vaccinated people said full approval of Pfizer's vaccine was a major reason they got the shot, and only 2% said it was the main reason.

The poll found that other factors were more likely to be a major reason for getting vaccinated, which is the increase in cases due to the Delta variant.  Concerns about hospitals filling up with Covid-19 patients; knowing someone who became seriously ill or died from Covid-19.

The fact that nothing so far, not full approval, not overflowing hospitals, not 700,000 dead Americans has convinced tens of millions of Americans to get vaccinated is reason enough for mandates.

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