As transmission rates are skyrocketing across the country, the Food and Drug Administration announced their full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This comes more than eight months after being granted for emergency use.

According to USA Today, the FDA confirmed late last year through a more "streamlined evaluation process" that the vaccine, from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its partner German startup BioNTech, was safe, effective and could be reliably produced.

With the vaccine now being fully approved, that means we could see more instances of required vaccinations in workplaces, businesses and schools across Central New York and in other cities, states, and continents.

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“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

With the approval granted, that means that doctors can authorize people to get an extra Pfizer-BioNTech shot, even before booster shots are made available to the general public likely to begin the week of September 20.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which make the other two authorized vaccines, are further behind in the licensure process, but are expected to go through the same steps in the coming months.

According to the Oneida County COVID-19 Tracker, which was last updated on August 20, 63.5% of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine, whether they received Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson. 58.6% have been fully vaccinated.

Currently there is 376 active coronavirus cases in Oneida County, 15 are hospitalized and five are in the Intensive Care Unit. helps you find clinics, pharmacies, and other locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. If you have any questions about the vaccine, you can find some answers below or by visiting the CDC website.

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