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The FDA Needs To Speed Up Full Approval Of COVID-19 Vaccines, Physician Says

An adult receives a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in May in Los Angeles. Full approval of the coronavirus vaccines would reassure the public they are safe, Dr. Leana Wen says.
An adult receives a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in May in Los Angeles. Full approval of the coronavirus vaccines would reassure the public they are safe, Dr. Leana Wen says.

The Food and Drug Administration's full approval of the coronavirus vaccines would go a long way toward convincing the vaccine hesitant to get the shot, says Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University.

Wen, here in 2019, is an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University.
Lloyd Fox / Pool/Getty Images
Wen, here in 2019, is an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University.

"But more importantly, I think it will convince some businesses that are currently on the fence about vaccine requirements to actually go that step and make the vaccines mandatory for employees," Wen says in a conversation with A Martínez on NPR's Morning Edition.

It's already well past the six-month mark for collecting enough safety data to determine if full approval should go ahead, she says.

Besides reassuring the public that vaccines are safe, full approval would allow pharmaceutical companies to do marketing. Doing so would help with public education, Wen notes.

The delay in fully greenlighting the vaccines has led to public confusion about the approval process, she says.

How to fix that? Outline the procedure, step by step, so that "people will know that it wasn't just politics driving this process."


This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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