Health experts hope more Arkansans will get vaccine after full FDA approval


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Last week, Pfizer submitted the paperwork required to apply for full approval from the FDA. At this time, Pfizer and all other vaccines are only approved through emergency use authorization. Health officials said they hope full approval will entice more hesitant Arkansans to get vaccinated.

Dr. Marti Sharkey, Fayetteville’s Public Health Officer, said some people don’t want to get a COVID-19 shot for any number of reasons.

“All of these different theories out there have actually been proven false,” Sharkey said. “They are reading anecdotal reports, unfounded information.”

Now that Pfizer applied for full approval on its vaccine, Sharkey’s hopeful more people will roll up their sleeves.

“I absolutely do believe that this is going to help move some people—not everybody—off the fence,” Sharkey said.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha is an epidemiologist for the Arkansas Dept. of Health. She said the FDA will take six months or more to review Pfizer’s application. If approved, it’ll be in circulation even after the national emergency declaration ends.

“It will be allowed to be used in usual or normal situations,” Dillaha said.

Dillaha said she thinks more Arkansans may be willing to get the shot when it’s fully approved, but some won’t regardless.

“I find that unfortunate because it makes it hard for people to change their minds if they can’t take in new information,” Dillaha said.

Sharkey said the science is clear at this point.

“The vaccine is very, very safe,” Sharkey said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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