onday’s full approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is welcome news for our nation and state as we continue the climb toward more universal protection from this deadly pandemic.
While vaccine hesitancy and skepticism will remain stubborn obstacles to a level of community safety that means less death and less severe illness, Monday’s announcement will certainly help chip away at the ranks of the unvaccinated (already, the U.S. military has mandated that all 1.4 million active-duty service members get the vaccine).
FDA approval will also likely help hospitals meet the state’s public health officer order that all health care workers receive their last dose of vaccine by Sept. 30 or undergo regular testing.
Finally, greater vaccination rates overall could help hospitals smooth the path for visitors. Late last week, CDPH released FAQs on hospital visitation, providing additional details about the health order that requires vaccine verification or proof of a COVID-19 test for visitors. More vaccinations mean an easier time for family members to spend time with those getting care in California’s hospitals.
Still, there are large swaths of the population that are not eligible for the vaccine — tens of millions of children under age 12 — who will be critical to efforts to protect more people and save more lives. This is why every bit helps, and why the FDA approval is meaningful.
al comes weeks ahead of when many models project the current surge to peak, and Californians continue to die unnecessarily each day from the virus. Statewide this week, ICU capacity hovered about 32%, with several rural counties having already hit their maximum limit.
At some point, we will come to a place where COVID-19 becomes endemic to society, much like the flu, but vaccines, and the bump they will get from FDA approval, are the best way we have to get there with as little suffering as possible.