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What Does the FDA’s Full Approval of the Pfizer Vaccine Mean?

The FDA announced on Monday the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older. That means the vaccine has now undergone extensive review over a substantial period of time —more than six months —to ensure long-term safety, said Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, with infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine.

A fully approved vaccine can continue to be used after the public health emergency of COVID-19 is declared to be over. This also makes it easier for certain entities, such as the military, to require vaccines.

Dr. Luis Ostrosky, chief of infectious diseases at UTHealth Houston, hopes the approval will help the public “trust the process and trust the science and recognize that this vaccine has met the burden of proof of efficacy and safety.”

Is the Vaccine Booster Shot the Same as the First Doses?

Yes. The booster shot is a third dose of whichever vaccine the person had received before. In rare instances, when the same vaccine is not available, the other mRNA vaccine can be safely administered instead, Kulkarni said.

Currently, a third dose is only recommended for certain immunocompromised people who had previously received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Houston-area hospitals began administering the booster shots last week. More information on these recent COVID vaccination topics can be found in this Houston Chronicle news article

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