FDA approves Pfizer vaccine, health officials hope authorization boosts vaccination rates

The Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is the first to receive full approval from the FDA. The vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty and is approved for those ages 16 and older.


The vaccine is still available under emergency-use authorization for kids ages 12 to 15. As well as a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

Southern Nevada health officials said Monday’s approval puts the Pfizer vaccine on the same level as regular immunizations for children and adults across the country.

“For all the naysayers that have had concerns about it not being approved by the FDA that they should feel confident and they should feel comfortable that it is now approved,” said Dr. Ati Hakimi MD, family physician with Vegas Direct Primary Care.

As the nation battles the most contagious variant yet, delta. The FDA gives approval to Pfizer as the first Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr. Fermin Leguen with the Southern Nevada Health District said the approval only confirms what health officials have been saying for months: the vaccine is safe and effective.

“Some organizations are waiting for the full approval of the vaccine so they could request or mandate the vaccine for their operation. Now they can incorporate that as well,” Dr. Leguen said.

County officials say right now they can’t predict if the approval will boost traffic at vaccination sites. But they hope it does.

The Stan Fulton drive-thru vaccination and testing site at UNLV will continue to offer 300 doses daily of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. They’ll adjust as needed.

A spokeswoman with CVS Pharmacy tells News 3 only one type of Covid-19 vaccine is offered at pharmacies giving the shot. When registering, people can see which store offers which vaccine.

In a statement, CVS said “we’re fully prepared to meet any increase in demand resulting from full FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and expected regulatory approval of booster shots beginning in the fall. We’ve administered more than 30 million COVID-19 vaccines across the country, and immediately began offering third doses to immunocompromised individuals when authorized to do so.”

As for other SNHD partners, Dr. Leguen said there shouldn’t be an issue with people asking for a specific vaccine.

“We have more than one vaccine available at any of our sites, whether its Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson,” Dr. Leguen said.

Dr. Hakimi added that full FDA approval is a rigorous process that goes beyond approving medication but manufacturing as well.

“We hope that we’ll be a source of comfort for them to know that there is all of this extensive data and research and manufacturing approval that has gone into this,” Dr. Hakimi said.

Picture of Dr. Hakimi

Dr. Hakimi

Dr. Ati Hakimi MD graduated from Northwestern University residency in Family Medicine and did an extra year of training in Geriatric Medicine at Rush University Medical Center. She has practiced medicine for over 20 years.

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