The Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and up, the agency announced on Monday.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock called the move a “milestone” in the country’s fight against the virus.
“While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” Woodcock said.
Top White House COVID-19 expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond that “no one can argue now with the effectiveness and the safety of these vaccines.”
Indeed, the approval effectively scrubs a top reason that anti-vax influencers put forward to oppose the vaccine: that Pfizer did not yet have full authorization.
A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 16 percent of those who say they haven’t gotten the vaccine cited concerns that the vaccine was too new or not tested enough.
Authorization of the vaccine may also lead businesses, schools, and other institutions to feel more comfortable with implementing vaccination requirements.
The Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday that the Pentagon will require all members of the military to get vaccinated now in the wake of the FDA’s approval.
San Francisco has announced that it will establish a vaccine mandate for city employees once at least one vaccine is authorized by the FDA.
The newly approved vaccine will be marketed as “Comirnaty,” pronounced as “koe-mir’-na-tee” (the FDA’s announcement made sure to spell out the pronunciation).
Read the FDA’s letter of authorization below:
This story has been updated.