FDA Approves Pfizer Vaccine

By: Edward Dewitt

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older. Previously, the vaccine use occurred under an emergency authorization.

UPMC experts discuss FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

“For some people who are unsure about the science behind the vaccine, this should be an assurance,” said Dr. Graham Snyder, medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at UPMC. “This is the culmination of highly scrutinized review of vaccines. I hope that today’s news reaches a lot of people who are still considering getting the vaccine and reassure them it’s the safe and effective thing to do.”

The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently approved.

“I fully expect the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will receive approval, and children of all different age groups will be eventually have vaccine available for them,” said Dr. Donald M. Yealy, chief medical officer at UPMC. “Many people wonder if this approval process is rushed. It’s been at an incredible pace, but it’s not rushed. These are some of the most studied interventions that I’ve seen in my 35 years of practicing medicine.”

“The three available vaccines in the U.S. are all safe, effective and incredible tools in keeping us safe, but it’s not the only tool,” Yealy said. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, continue to practice distancing and get tested if you feel sick. If you test positive, or, in some cases even if you are exposed to the virus, call us. UPMC may be able to offer you a lifesaving therapy: monoclonal antibodies.”

Visit Vaccine.UPMC.com to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine or to learn more about monoclonal antibodies.