SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – Health officials and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards are applauding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, which was announced Monday, Aug. 23.
Gov. Edwards and Dr. Joseph Kanter with the State Health Office say the vaccines are safe, effective, and readily available across the state. As of Monday, more than 2.2 million people in Louisiana have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; nearly 40% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
“Today’s FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, is yet another historic moment in our journey out of this COVID-19 pandemic. This full FDA approval of the first COVID vaccine follows months of clinical trials and millions upon millions of real-world doses safely administered across the globe. This vaccine is well researched, very safe and highly effective at preventing serious COVID illness, hospitalization and death,” Gov. Edwards said. “It is my fervent hope that any Louisianan who was waiting for the FDA approval of the vaccine will take action to immediately receive their shot. Already, more than 2.2 million Louisianans have taken at least one dose of the vaccines that are available statewide. We are optimistic that our numbers will grow as we fight together to end this COVID pandemic once and for all. Today would be a great day to get your COVID vaccine.”
“After an exhaustive review process we are very happy to see the Pfizer vaccine receive full licensure from the FDA. More than 200 million Americans, including 2.2 million people in Louisiana, already have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Kanter. “The COVID-19 pandemic and our most recent surge have been devastating. To date, we have lost more than 11,900 Louisianans to this virus. Many more people going sleeves up for this life-saving vaccine will protect us against future COVID-19 surges and help us put an end to this pandemic.”
Everyone in Louisiana who is 12 and older is eligible to get a vaccine. The FDA has only fully authorized the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 16 and up. The vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 remains under emergency use authorization.
Dr. Sandra Kemmerly, an infectious disease specialist and co-leader of Ochsner Health’s COVID-19 response team, issued the following statement Monday:
“Today’s announcement from the FDA underscores the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine and confirms what we have been saying, which is that getting vaccinated is the best way to keep yourself, your family and our community safe from COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine has been administered to tens of millions of people and proven to be safe and effective against serious disease and death, with few documented serious side effects. We heard from several community members who were waiting on full FDA approval to get vaccinated and are hopeful that all eligible community members get their vaccines as soon as possible. Today, Ochsner Health is caring for 967 COVID-19 patients in our hospitals across the state, and nearly 88% are unvaccinated.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has full FDA approval for individuals 16 years and older. Pfizer is also available to ages 12-15 under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). People wishing to get vaccinated can visit one of the more than 1,400 vaccination clinics in the state.
Ochsner is proud to offer vaccination opportunities across the region in clinics, shopping centers, community sites, and even at Saints games. To find a vaccine location near you, please visit https://www.ochsner.org/appointment-availability.”
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