The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
The vaccine was declared effective in preventing the disease for individuals 16 years of age and older in an FDA press release on Aug. 23.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock called the approval “a milestone” in the press release and said Americans can be confident the vaccine “meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality” required of the agency.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said the same day the approval should “remove any doubts whatsoever” regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
“I am a strong supporter of vaccination and will continue to advocate for it as the solution to save lives and get our economy fully reopened,” he said in a press release. “For those of you who have been waiting to get vaccinated, now is the time.”
Also on Aug. 23, Springfield news outlet KOLR10 released the results of a study the station conducted from Aug. 11-14, which aimed to understand vaccine hesitancy in the Ozarks. The study collected responses from 153 area residents.
The survey found residents are most concerned about the long- and short-term side effects of COVID-19 vaccines. The majority of responders said a distrust of the government and a distrust about the efficacy of the vaccine has motivated their vaccine hesitancy.
Another study conducted by Missouri State University master’s of public health students, found the main issues underlying vaccine hesitancy included excessive self-efficacy, autonomy and fatalism.
The most common side effects of the Pfizer vaccine were short-term, including redness and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle/joint pain, chills and fever. The FDA said information is not yet available about potential long-term side effects.
News of the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine comes as the average age of Greene county COVID-19 deaths falls. The average age of those who died in March 2020 was 88 years, compared to 63 years in July 2021.
“The unfortunate reality now is many of these fatalities could have been prevented with (the) vaccine,” said Director of Health Katie Towns in the City of Springfield News Flash. “Vaccination is a highly effective method to prevent deaths and severe illnesses.”
Karen McKinnis is the emergency preparation manager with Missouri State University’s Office of University Safety. She oversees the ongoing COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive program at MSU.
The Standard previously reported on the incentive program in July. Read the full story here.
McKinnis said one of the ways the university tracks the success of the program is by logging the quantity of gift cards distributed. Starting July 7, each student who received a vaccine on campus received a gift card to the MSU Official Bookstore — $10 for a first dose of Pfizer, $15 for the second dose and $25 for the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As of Aug. 17, students have claimed $9,225 in gift cards.
McKinnis said she suspects some students have been waiting for full FDA approval, and since that “barrier” has now been removed, she anticipates the number of vaccinated students to climb.
Follow Diana Dudenhoeffer on Twitter, @kisstein
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