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Monday, September 20, 2021

Coronavirus

FDA’s Pfizer vaccine approval has students feeling hopeful


Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

The Food and Drug Administration announced their full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for distribution to individuals 16 and older, some experts hoping this could help decrease the number of Americans yet to receive any inoculation against the virus.

Prior to its full approval on Aug. 23, around 30 percent of Americans expressed hesitancy about the safety of the vaccine, saying they would not get the shot until it received full approval by the FDA.

Several UH students said they hoped Pfizer-BioNTech’s FDA approval would be likely to make an impact on communities with lower vaccination rates.

Political science freshman Asia White, pointed out that one of the biggest factors in vaccine hesitancy has been fear over inadequate testing. 

“I think a lot of people’s justification for not taking it was that it’s not FDA approved and they didn’t know how safe it was, and now that it is I think a lot of people will be like, ‘Maybe I should go ahead and get it,” White said.

In the week since its approval, the data seems to indicate that this development has already caused a shift in vaccination rates, with a notable 17 percent increase in Americans getting their first dose.

However, some students remained hesitant, questioning the effectiveness of the vaccine. 

“Regardless of how many vaccines they’ve come out with, people are still getting sick,” said art history senior Greg Holden. 

Holden said he felt there would be “little to no change” in vaccination rates, and questioned what it would take to cure COVID-19 permanently. 

“Where’s the progression to actually do something about the variant? Where’s the actual cure?” Holden said.

Clinical Assistant Professor at UH College of Medicine Dr. Bhavna Lall, emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated.

“COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to prevent severe disease and hospitalizations in the U.S. The majority of the hospitalized cases of COVID are unvaccinated individuals, and the healthcare system is nearing capacity to take care of patients,” Lall said. “By staying unvaccinated, they may affect others as well, given the delta variant is much more contagious and also resulting in much more serious disease.”

Lall also urged hesitant communities to receive the vaccine for the sake of those around them. 

“Vaccinate to protect yourself, your family and friends, your community, and the rest of the country from this virus,” Lall said.

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