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FDA approves Pfizer's COVID shot; LSU to implement vaccine mandate soon

1 month 4 days 11 hours ago Monday, August 23 2021 Aug 23, 2021 August 23, 2021 8:12 AM August 23, 2021 in News
Source: New York Times/CNN

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID vaccine Monday. 

The F.D.A. says the vaccine will be marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

Federal authorities add that it will continue to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock issued a statement regarding the approval, saying, “The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic."

"While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product.” 

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. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S."

LSU to review FDA's vaccine approval before implementing mandate

Shortly after the FDA's Monday morning announcement regarding the approval of Pfizer's vaccine, Louisiana State University said it will first fully review the approval from the FDA and then implement a vaccine mandate on campus.

Additional information related to the campus-wide vaccination requirement will be released at a later time.

LSU representative Ernie Ballard said, "We will be communicating logistics to the LSU community soon. "

This was in harmony with LSU System President William Tate IV's announcement earlier this month, stating that once the FDA fully approves the COVID vaccine, the university will require students and faculty to be vaccinated.

Regular, mandatory testing for the virus will also be a big part of the semester.

"The minute they decide they no longer want to participate in testing, we have a breech
in agreement. But we believe our students understand that. You either test for COVID
or you have a vaccination," Dr. William Tate said.

A host of other local institutions and employers are expected to follow suit and require that their communities be vaccinated against COVID-19.  

Increased vaccine mandates expected across the U.S.

Increased vaccine-related mandates are also expected to go into effect across the nation.

A number of leading health experts believe that as businesses, schools, and states enforce vaccine mandates the steadily increasing number of virus cases will begin to drop.

The U.S. is now reporting a total of 37.8 million virus cases and a total of 628,000 COVID-related deaths.

Once COVID vaccines are required by local entities across the U.S., these numbers are expected to decrease, especially in states that currently have lower vaccination rates.

Vaccine mandates likely to alleviate overwhelmed healthcare facilities

This will be a huge help to medical facilities in states like these, as most regions with low vaccination rates are also dealing with overflowing hospital facilities and a lack of ICU beds/sufficient healthcare staff.  

Louisiana is one of a handful of U.S. states currently battling this situation. 

According to The Advocate, on Thursday, hospitals from the River Parishes to Lake Charles reported a total of fewer than 50 ICU beds available to take on new patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, across the U.S., the number of vaccine doses administered daily has mostly increased over the past week -- with three days surpassing a million reported doses.

The daily average of new reported cases is around 147,000, and experts warn that the current trajectory indicates statistics may soon surpass 200,000.

More than half of the total US population, 51.5% or about 170 million people, were fully vaccinated as of Sunday, CDC data showed, and 60.7% have received at least one dose. 

At this time, 25 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents.

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