Tri-State health leaders react to FDA’s full approval of Pfizer vaccine

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Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Leaders at two of the Tri-State’s largest health care systems are reacting to the FDA’s full approval of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

[PREVIOUS: FDA gives full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine]

This moves makes the Pfizer vaccine the first COVID-19 vaccine to surpass its emergency use authorization.

Pharmacy Service Line Manager at Deaconess Health System, Brian Spencer says, “I think it is a significant step, obviously. Those that still had doubts about the vaccine due to the emergency use authorization, I think that is a great step forward.”

More than 200 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered across the United States, and, of course, that includes right here in the Tri-State.

So what does this full approval mean for local hospitals and pharmacies?

Health officials at both Deaconess and Ascension St. Vincent hope Monday’s announcement will encourage more people to roll up their sleeves.

”I do,” says Spencer. “I think there have been a lot of surveys done through multiple different organizations and survey companies, but one of the big questions is, ‘I want that stamp of approval from the FDA. So, I sincerely hope that that does increase vaccine confidence.”

Officials say to prepare for the possible influx, Deaconess is working on plans to distribute Pfizer vaccines to primary care offices to make it easier for families to get vaccinated. Pfizer vaccines are currently available at urgent care centers and express clinics.

Spencer says since Deaconess is not on allocation anymore, the health care system can order as many Pfizer doses as it needs.

Wednesday’s full approval is for people 16 years and older. Children ages 12 to 15 can still get the Pfizer vaccine under the emergency use authorization.

”We have more data on these COVID vaccines than any other vaccine or drug that has come to market, in terms of the hundreds of millions, or even billions, of people that have taken the vaccine and that we’ve seen the data from,” says Spencer. “So I would hope this really shores up some confidence in the vaccine.”

Ascension St. Vincent also shared its reaction to the news from the FDA, saying in part:

“Together as one integrated health ministry, we will put this pandemic behind us so that we can continue to focus on meeting the needs of those who come to us for care.”

Spencer encourages people who are already vaccinated to share their experience with family and friends.

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