Will a full FDA approval for Pfizer's COVID vaccine help curb vaccine hesitancy?

Is vaccine emergency use authorization being used as an excuse for vaccine hesitancy?
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Pfizer vaccine was first out of the gate after it was the first vaccine to be awarded FDA emergency use authorization in December.

Now, the company is seeking full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

"Full approval is, it's actually going to be licensed as product," said UIC Infectious Disease Director Dr. Richard Novak.

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Becoming a licensed product would mean a price can be set and the vaccine can be marketed using traditional means like print, digital and TV ads.

"Maybe marketing will help increase uptick to get the vaccine, so look at it as a positive," Dr. Novak said.

Some vaccine hesitancy has been attributed to people who feel more comfortable getting the vaccine after it gains full FDA approval. The process requires a company to submit its entire body of data....and some employers have stopped short of mandates because their employees or unions have pushed back until the vaccine is fully approved.

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"I've been finding with my clients, if there is hesitancy on an employee's part, sometimes they point out the fact that it is emergency use authorization," said Margo Wolf O'Donnell, Benesch Law Labor & Employment Co-Chair.

However, Wolf O'Donnell said emergency use is being used as an excuse. She said it is legal for employers to mandate the vaccine, with some exceptions, under emergency use.

"Employers can mandate the vaccine as long as the employee doesn't have a disability or if there is certain religious exemptions," O'Donnell said.

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While Pfizer is seeking full approval for people above 16 years old, the FDA is preparing to authorize emergency use of the vaccine for 12-15 year olds as early as next week.
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