FDA pulls in extra help to speed full approval of Pfizer vaccine, company says

Pfizer filed for full approval

In this March 2021 photo provided by Pfizer, vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared for packaging at the companys facility in Puurs, Belgium. Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying Thursday, July 8, 2021, that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant. (Pfizer via AP)
In this March 2021 photo provided by Pfizer, vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared for packaging at the companys facility in Puurs, Belgium. Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying Thursday, July 8, 2021, that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant. (Pfizer via AP) (Pfizer)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is pulling in extra help to speed final approval of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, according to the agency’s spokesperson.

The FDA said Friday it is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach in order to complete the review of the company’s application. Pfizer filed for full approval in a process known as biologics license application, or BLA.

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The company said earlier this month the FDA granted priority review for the shot it developed with BioNTech.

The three vaccines currently in use in the U.S. — Pfizer’s, Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s — have emergency use authorization.

According to the Associated Press, more than 186 million doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have been administered in the U.S. alone since December. Many more doses have gone to other countries that have authorized emergency use of the vaccine during the pandemic.

Health experts say full approval could give people more confidence in the vaccine and encourage them to get vaccinated.