COVID-19 vaccine vials

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 years of age and older. The decision on Aug. 23 replaces the emergency-use approval issued in December.

Since then, 169 million Americans, 59% of those who are vaccine eligible, have been fully vaccinated. Edward Oldfield III, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine, hopes the full approval will encourage others to join them.

“Many people in the U.S. are reluctant to receive the vaccine and remain at risk for severe infection with COVID,” says Dr. Oldfield, a longtime infectious disease expert at EVMS. “Our experiences with these vaccines over the past nine months have shown us they are safe and highly effective vaccines against COVID-19.”

The decision also may pave the way for more vaccination mandates.

“Many institutions have been reluctant to mandate vaccinations until full FDA approval,” Dr. Oldfield says. “This decision will lead to more businesses and institutions mandating vaccination and decrease in the number of Americans at risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19.”

In early August, EVMS announced vaccination would be required, with limited exemptions, for on-campus students as of Aug. 1, and for current employees as of Oct. 1.  

Learn more about getting vaccinated and find a clinic near you by visiting Vaccinate Virginia