The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine is now fully FDA approved, eliminating at least one reason why so many in Central Texas were hesitant to get vaccinated.
“At some point, you’ve got to trust something, and the science is proving to be correct pretty much across the board,” said Seton Medical Center - Harker Heights chief nursing officer, Calee Travis.
Travis said more than 200 million Pfizer doses have been administered in the U.S. since emergency use was authorized in December.
“Hopefully, this will give people some reassurance this vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, it safe and effective,” said Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan Health District.
Many believe that approval was rushed, said Travis, but local health experts say the science behind the vaccine has been researched for years.
“The mRNA vaccine has been in work for decades," said Travis. "The technology was there, they were just able to move really fast with it for emergency use.”
The approval comes at a time with many hospitals now overflowing with patients, many with COVID-19. Travis said their ICU has been filled with COVID-19 patients over the last three weeks, most unvaccinated.
“They are sicker than what we saw last year. We have more patients in the ICU. We have more patients on the ventilator. The vast majority of them are unvaccinated,” said Travis.
Craine said they are also seeing high COVID-19 numbers in McLennan County, including deaths.
“We’ve already had, for the month of August, 28 deaths," said Craine. "In July it was not even close to that, it was like five."
Several health experts are hoping people will take the FDA approval seriously and get vaccinated before it gets worse. The FDA approval also means businesses, hospitals, and some governments departments can issue vaccine mandates.
“It gives a lot more confidence, then that just reaffirms their decision. To mandate the vaccine. I think will see more and more institutions to give a mandate. We’ll see more and more institutions Go ahead and give them a mandate,” said Texas A&M University-Central Department of Nursing Director & Chair Amy Mersiovsky.
Top Military leaders already announced they plan to mandate the vaccine for all service members after a vaccine is FDA approved.
Officials with Fort Hood said they are expecting to see an official announcement in September. The approval applies to ages 16 and up. Those 12 through 15 are still under emergency use authorization.