FDA approves Pfizer COVID vaccine

Staff Report

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and older.

This is the first coronavirus vaccine fully approved by the FDA and is expected to open the door to more vaccine mandates.

The announcement also comes as local and state authorities have encouraged vaccinations as the Delta Variant COVID-19 strain has led to a record number of hospitalizations and the highest percent positivity levels seen since the onset of the pandemic last year.

In Iberville Parish, more than 1,100 new cases have been reported since the Fourth of July.

As of Monday, Iberville had a 15.8 percent positivity rating. A total of 5,281 cases has been reported since the start of the pandemic, and 113 people have died from the coronavirus.

In neighboring Ascension, the percent positivity rating was 23.6 as of Monday. A total of 19,106 cases have been reported since March 2020 and 168 people have died from COVID.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in the United States since mid-December for people age 16 and older.

 In May, the authorization was extended to those 12 and older. Out of more than 170 million people in the United States fully vaccinated against COVID-19, more than 92 million have received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Officials discussed this weekend how to prepare for the rollout once the FDA grants full approval, given it will be a major messaging opportunity to encourage vaccination.

Full approval could more vaccine mandates and perhaps increase uptake by some people who are vaccine hesitant. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN on Sunday that approval could encourage more people to get vaccinated, and more mandates.

The vaccine approval comes during a surge that has led to the second year of cancellation for numerous events, including Jazz Fest, the French Quarter Festival, the Baton Rouge Blues Festival and the Gonzales Jambalaya. Festival.

It also forced cancellation of Boogie on the Bayou events planned in Plaquemine and could threaten other events planned for fall.

Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso is particularly concerned about one of the parish’s annual traditions that was blocked due to COVID last year.

“I really want to have the Veterans Day event this year, and I hope we can have it,” he said. “It means a lot for a veterans and it means a lot to me.”