The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech version of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) said the vaccine will be under the brand name Comirnaty and is available for anyone 16 and older. Individuals in the 12 to 15 year age range can still get the Pfizer vaccine with the FDA’s emergency use authorization.
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Health officials in Arizona praised the move by the FDA as it comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the state.
ADHS Director Cara Christ celebrated the work put into developing the vaccine.
“The approved COVID-19 vaccines, which benefit from 20 years research into coronaviruses, offer the surest protection against a virus that continues hospitalizing and killing those who aren’t vaccinated.”
Other officials say that the FDA’s authorization should help boost the confidence in those skeptical of the vaccine.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said:
“My sincere hope is that today’s welcome news from the FDA helps remove a barrier for many Arizonans who are hesitant to get the vaccine.”
According to ADHS, nearly half of all new COVID-19 cases are spurring from unvaccinated people between the ages of 20 and 44. A group which, according to the department, also has the lowest vaccine rates among adults.
The pandemic, however, shows no signs of slowing down in the state as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise over the past week. According to data from ADHS, there were 3,788 new COVID-19 cases on August 16 — an increase from 2,939 cases on August 5.
As new case numbers continue to rise, vaccination rates have appeared to slow down. Data from ADHS shows that 18,312 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered on August 20. However, 19,905 doses were administered a week earlier on August 13.