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Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Is Now Fully FDA Approved! Here’s What That Means.

Posters using strong language to warn about Covid-19, bearing the mark of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are on display outside a subway station in New York

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine just became the first COVID-19 vaccine to be fully approved by federal regulators. Until now, the available vaccines had been approved under an emergency use authorization, meaning they were still rigorously tested on tens of thousands of study patients and had to adhere to strict safety standards, but the entire process was able to be sped up due to *gestures at entire world on fire.*

One of the biggest talking points among COVID-19 vaccine holdouts has been that the vaccine was too “rushed.” This argument has been used in good faith by people who have good reason to be skeptical of the medical industry, as well as in bad faith by those who have bought into the heavily politicized narrative around the vaccine. (Hint: If you’re refusing to take the vaccine because you think the approval process was too opaque but are rushing out to find horse deworming medication because Tucker Carlson said to, you don’t fall into the “good faith” category.)

Ideally, the FDA’s official approval should convince a lot of those who have been hesitant to now finally get the shot. And maybe it will! But we all know that this kind of resistance can be a tough mindset to break.

However, the new approval also opens up all kinds of doors for implementing vaccine mandates. As the Daily Beast notes, “Previously, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that full approval would trigger a ‘flood’ of vaccine mandates in American schools and workplaces.”

And in fact, “Seconds after news of the approval was announced, New York City’s public schools—the largest system in the nation—confirmed that COVID-19 vaccinations will become mandatory for all school staff.”

Most schools and plenty of workplaces already require various vaccines, so adding COVID-19 to the list isn’t the breach of “freedom” that so many people have branded it. It’s a basic public health and safety measure, and hopefully, this new FDA approval will help normalize it as such.

For now, the vaccine is fully approved for everyone ages 16 and up, and approved for emergency use in kids ages 12–15, as well as for a third dose for immunocompromised people.

The Pfizer vaccine also apparently has a new name, which is just absolutely terrible. Team Pfizer is now officially Team … Comirnaty.

Congratulations, though, to everyone who got the Moderna shot, because you now have the infinitely cooler SPIKEVAX running through your veins.

(image: KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.