Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that the Food and Drug Administration's full approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine offers "light at the end of the tunnel."
The FDA granted full approval Monday to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, making it the first to secure such validation as health authorities struggle to win over vaccine skeptics.
Appearing on NBC's "Today" show, Fauci was asked how full approval of the vaccine will impact the fight against COVID.
"There's a survey that shows that about 30% of the people who have not gotten vaccinated and had been reluctant to get vaccinated have said that once they get what they consider the stamp of approval, the final impromptu from the FDA, that they would very seriously consider getting vaccinated. So that's one element," Fauci told "Today."
"The second element is that there will be much more enthusiasm in mandating vaccines, be they in corporations, in places of employment, universities, colleges, the military. All of that, I believe, will contribute greatly to the number of people vaccinated."
Fauci added that the approval allows Pfizer to market and advertise its vaccine.
"I believe those three things working together, hopefully, will get a lot more people vaccinated," he said.
Fauci said the key will be to "get the overwhelming majority of those 80 to 90 million people who have not yet been vaccinated, who have been reluctant to get vaccinated or have not had the opportunity, I believe we can see light at the end of the tunnel."
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also was asked about the likelihood of children under the age of 12 being allowed to get the vaccine before the Christmas holidays.
"I think there's a reasonable chance that that will be the case," Fauci said. "What's going on right now is that the companies, both Pfizer and Moderna, at least two of them, as well as working with the NIH Clinical Trials Group in my own institute, are working very hard to get data on both the safety, the correct dose, as well as the immunogenicity, namely, the predictability that these vaccines will be effective.
"We're collecting that data now. That data ultimately will be presented to the FDA to look at it for the balance between safety and risk benefit ratio for the children. I hope all of that process will take place expeditiously and that we will have it on the timetable that you just mentioned, hopefully by the mid- late- fall and early winter."
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