FDA ‘finalizing paperwork’ with Pfizer aiming to give FULL approval to Covid-19 vaccine next week – reports

The FDA will give full authorization to Pfizer’s Covid jab sometime next week, according to multiple reports, putting it on track to be the first in the US to get approval and likely paving the way for additional vaccine mandates.

The US regulator is expected to give the greenlight for Pfizer’s immunization in the coming days, the New York Times and Politico reported on Friday, citing several “people familiar” with the agency’s planning. Though the FDA still has a “substantial amount of paperwork and negotiation with the company” to get through, it could give full approval as soon as Monday, the Times added. 

It was previously reported that the FDA hoped to grant authorization before Labor Day on September 6, and now appears set to meet that informal deadline. 

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With a number of hospital systems and universities around the US signaling plans to mandate vaccinations against Covid-19 upon full approval, the move is likely to trigger a spate of new requirements around the country. 

The US military, moreover, has also said it would compel immunizations for its 1.3 million active-duty troops by the middle of next month, but could do so sooner should the FDA give its blessing to Pfizer. While the Joe Biden administration previously suggested the president would issue a waiver to allow vaccine mandates for soldiers, it decided to hold off until regulators signed off. 

Reports of the FDA’s plans come soon after the White House began promoting booster shots for all fully vaccinated adults, citing US health agencies, which noted the immunizations are losing effectiveness over time, particularly against more infectious Delta mutation. While the FDA hasn’t yet approved third doses for all healthy Americans, the agency did give the go-ahead for those with compromised immune systems, while Pfizer recently submitted its initial trial data for universal boosters. 

Health officials have voiced hopes that full approval for the Covid jabs could improve vaccination numbers in the US, which have been losing pace since hitting a peak in April. Recent polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that more than 30% of respondents would be “more likely” to be vaccinated if the FDA authorized the shots, suggesting the move could indeed spur immunizations.

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