The rush for full approval - as opposed to the current emergency use authorization - comes as many schools, hospitals and employers have used full approval as a benchmark for moving forward with mandatory vaccinations.
"We'd like to see it approved as fast as humanly possible, so we can really go back to just the more normal experience," said Jim Malatras, chancellor of the State University of New York system, who currently cannot impose a vaccine mandate for some 400,000 students served under the system. At present, the school requires either vaccines or weekly testing.
Three vaccines—from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc., and Johnson & Johnson —are authorized for emergency use in the U.S. Pfizer and Moderna have filed initial paperwork for full approval. However, only Pfizer has submitted all the necessary information to the FDA, according to the companies, and analysts expect it will be the first to get the green light. Moderna says it is still completing rolling data submissions, and Johnson & Johnson says it plans to file for full approval later this year. -Wall Street Journal
The FDA is taking an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to review Pfizer's applicaiton for full approval "as rapidly as possible in keeping with the high-quality complete assessment that the public expects from the FDA."
As the Journal notes, full approval will ease restrictions on distribution and advertising, and will allow more states, schools and employers to force people to take the jab, according to attorneys and current/former FDA officials. Once full approval is granted, the vaccine would be eligible for prescriptions as booster doses by physicians.
According to a June Kaiser Family Foundation survey, over 30% of unvaccinated Americans would be more likely to get it if the FDA grants full approval.