KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
While only 55% of Michiganders ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated, a public health official said he believes the full approval for Pfizer's vaccine could increase that.
"I think it's going to give a lot of individuals who've been sort of on the fence for the vaccine, it's going to give them reason and support to say, ‘okay, now I can get vaccinated," said Dr. Robert Bensley, a Western Michigan University Professor of Public Health.
It has been over eight months since the FDA granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. Now, it has the full stamp of approval.
"The final approval as indicated has gone through all of the regiment, the testing, the analysis of the data and was determined to be completely safe. That is something that they're putting their stamp of approval on. The FDA does not do that easily," said Dr. Bensley.
In Michigan, almost 60% of the eligible population have at least one dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines, while 55% are fully vaccinated.
"We know that about half of our population still is not vaccinated. I think we're in a position right now to vaccinate as many people as possible, especially before the fall and winter months come into play," said Dr. Bensley.
As case numbers rise, Dr. Bensley said this approval could also mean some changes for schools and businesses.
"Health care mandates, flu vaccine mandates, tuberculosis testing, a lot of universities mandate viral meningitis, so it's another vaccine for an issue that we can help prevent the spread. I think we'll see a lot more organizations ramping up their mandating process," said Dr. Bensley.
Dr. Bensley also said the Pfizer vaccine getting full FDA approval was the first step. He believes both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccines will also be fully approved in the near future.