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Dr. Anthony Fauci said he hopes Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration within the next couple of weeks.
Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, appeared on CNN Tuesday evening to react to the news the FDA was speeding up its timetable for giving final approval to the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, aiming to complete the process by the end of the month.
"I do hope it's going to be within the next couple of weeks. They said hopefully by the end of the month. I hope it's even sooner than that," Fauci told CNN's Erin Burnett.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explained there are "many good reasons" for the Pfizer vaccine to get fully approved by the FDA because it, like the others, only has emergency approval so far.
"I think there is a certain proportion of people who are just waiting for that full approval. Even though the data are overwhelming right now that these vaccines are highly effective and are safe, but some still want to wait for that final imprimatur on the particular products in question. So they're going to get vaccinated," he said.
"The other thing," Fauci added, "it's going to allow independent local enterprises — universities, colleges, businesses — who will feel comfortable when they say, 'I'm going to mandate that if you want to come to this school, if you want to work in this place, you've got to be vaccinated. I think we'll see much more of that when you have the backup of the full approval of this vaccine that we have. That's what I think is going to happen."
More than 165 million people have been fully vaccinated in the United States, which is just under half the population, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 192 million, or nearly 58% of the population, have received at least one dose.
The CDC said the vaccines are key to controlling the coronavirus pandemic and stressed that infections among fully vaccinated people, called breakthrough cases, are expected.
"COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19," the CDC states on its website.
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin
Original Location: Fauci hopes Pfizer vaccine will get full FDA approval in weeks