COVID vaccinations lagging despite full Pfizer FDA approval

www.latimes.com
7 min read
fairly difficult
There hasn't been an uptick in inoculations, nationally or in California, after the FDA's full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older.
Scientists and officials have long hoped full government approval of a COVID-19 vaccine would help allay stubborn concerns about the shots' safety and perhaps trigger a new boost in inoculations among those who have been hesitant to roll up their sleeves.

But so far, there hasn't been an obvious uptick — nationally or in California — following the Food and Drug Administration's full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 16 and older, according to a Times analysis.

Nationally, there were 2.91 million people who had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for the seven-day period prior to the FDA's announcement on Aug. 23. But instead of a surge in vaccinations for the week of Aug. 23, there were actually slightly fewer first doses of vaccines administered: 2.78 million, representing a 4% decline.

There was a 6.5% decline in weekly vaccinations in California; from Aug. 16 through Aug. 22, about 326,000 first-dose vaccinations were administered, but the following week, about 305,000 were given.

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Before the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was fully authorized, it was distributed under an emergency use authorization, which is still the case for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Health officials in several California counties confirmed they haven't seen an increase in vaccinations since Pfizer's full authorization.

"We haven't seen a boost here," Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week.

There were 75,526 first-dose administrations in L.A. County between Aug. 16 and Aug. 22, and 68,332 the following week. Health officials say that more recent data can sometimes appear artificially low, as it takes time to account for all doses given on a particular day.

Santa Clara County, Northern California's most populous, reported 9,310 first-dose vaccinations in the week before the FDA's announcement, and 8,515 first doses for the seven-day period after.

"We did not see a bump in our first doses," said Dr.…
Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money
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