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Anthony Fauci hopeful of COVID vaccines getting full OK by FDA within weeks

The FDA has only granted emergency-use approval of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but the agency is expected to soon give full approval to Pfizer.

AP AP
Wilmington Updated on: August 09, 2021 8:12 IST
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Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to accusations by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday

The U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Sunday that he was hopeful the Food and Drug Administration will give full approval to the coronavirus vaccine by month’s end and predicted the potential move will spur a wave of vaccine mandates in the private sector as well as schools and universities.

The FDA has only granted emergency-use approval of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but the agency is expected to soon give full approval to Pfizer.

The Biden administration has stated that the federal government will not mandate vaccinations beyond the federal workforce, but is increasingly urging state and local governments as well as businesses to consider such mandates. Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said “mandates at the local level need to be done” to help curb the spread of the virus.

“I hope — I don’t predict — I hope that it will be within the next few weeks. I hope it’s within the month of August,” Fauci said of FDA approval of the vaccine. “If that’s the case, you’re going to see the empowerment of local enterprises, giving mandates that could be colleges, universities, places of business, a whole variety and I strongly support that. The time has come. ... We’ve got to go the extra step to get people vaccinated.”

Fauci’s comments come as the Biden administration is weighing what levers it can push to encourage more unvaccinated Americans to get their shots as the delta variant continues to surge through much of the United States.

Biden recently approved rules requiring federal workers to provide proof of vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandates and travel restrictions. Biden is also awaiting a formal recommendation from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on potentially requiring U.S. troops to get vaccinated.

The administration has become more vocal in its support of vaccine mandates at a moment when high-profile companies have informed employees that coronavirus vaccination requirements are in the works, and some localities have adopted or are contemplating vaccine requirements to dine indoors.

United Airlines informed its employees that they will need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 25 or five weeks after the FDA grants full approval to one of the vaccines — whichever date comes first.

Also Read: Some in US getting COVID-19 boosters without FDA approval

Also Read: FDA adds warning of rare reaction risk to J&J Covid vaccine

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