Pfizer vaccine gets FDA approval for 16 years and older
by Steven Felschundneff | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years and older. The long-awaited move by the FDA replaces the emergency authorization for the vaccine, which has already been administered to 202 million Americans including 6,470,000 Los Angeles County residents.
“The licensing approval was announced after another thorough evaluation of safety and effectiveness data by a panel of scientific and medical experts. FDA-approved vaccines undergo the agency’s standard process for reviewing the quality, safety and effectiveness of medical products,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials said in a statement.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for those 12 through 15 years old.
The official approval also clears the path for widespread vaccine mandates, which some officials have called for to reach the herd immunity required to defeat the virus.
As more fully vaccinated people test positive, known as breakthrough infections, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that the protection offered by the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines may fade over time and recommend a third booster shot eight months after a person receives the second dose. People who got the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine may also need to get a booster but the CDC has not recommended it yet.
Health officials stress that even with the breakthrough cases the vaccine is still very effective in preventing hospitalization and death. The L.A. County Department of Public Health said on Wednesday that unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized.
“Fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 infection were significantly less likely than unvaccinated persons to be hospitalized, to be admitted to an intensive care unit, to require mechanical ventilation, or to die from COVID-19 infection,” health officials said in a statement.
As the Delta variant sweeps across the nation, states like Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida are reporting the most severe outbreaks since the pandemic began. The seven-day rolling average of new reported cases per 100,000 residents in Florida reached 99 on Tuesday, which is about 32 percent higher than the winter surge. Mississippi is recording 118 cases per 100,000 people, 38 percent more that last winter. Louisiana is at 101 a 30 percent increase.
Nationwide the current surge at 149,626 average daily cases represent about 68 percent of the January peak of 248,000 cases. California is doing much better, standing at about 30 percent of its January peak.
The good news is the seven-day average of new vaccines administered is up about 40 percent from 530,000 in mid July, to 860,000 last week.
Claremont was initially a leader in getting its people vaccinated. However, we now lag behind the county as a whole with Claremont at 67 percent of its population receiving at least one shot, or 22,625 people, compared with Los Angeles County at 72.8 percent. At the current rate of inoculation the county is estimated to reach 90 percent by the first of the year.
The county is reporting 70 new infections in Claremont over the last week for a cumulative total of 2,636. Deaths remain at 61.
On Wednesday public health confirm 36 deaths and 3,322 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 36 deaths, 11 were over the age of 80, nine were between 65 and 79, five were between 50 and 64, and eight were between 30 and 49. To date, public health identified 1,391,363 cumulative cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and 25,150 deaths.
There are 1,747 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, 27 percent of whom are in ICU.