Will Pfizer’s FDA approval sway more to get vaccinated? Kansas City health leaders hope so

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, and Kansas City area health leaders say the decision is monumental in the fight against the virus.

However, they also understand full FDA approval may not be enough for people to get the shot.

A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows about 31% of people cited the lack of FDA approval as the main reason they refuse to get the vaccine. But some people say now that the vaccine is approved, it’s time to get the shot.

Rick Gould was vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine earlier this year. He said people who don’t get the vaccine are choosing their own fate.

“If you get COVID, you shouldn’t go to the hospital because you have no excuses anymore,” he said.

Chip Cohlmia with the Jackson County Health Department said they aren’t expecting a quick rise in vaccinations, but he thinks it will happen gradually.

They are expecting a lot of questions from those who many be confused about getting the shot.

“[I’ve heard questions like] ‘wait a minute. It’s approved now. Was it not safe before? Is it super safe? What are their differences?’” he said.

In Johnson County, health leaders say they also aren’t expecting a rapid rise, but they’re optimistic.

“It’s inching up gradually,” Dr. Sanmi Areola said. “If this approval will get a few more thousand of people to get the vaccine, that’s good news for us.”

For now, health leaders said they’re sitting back and observing how county residents respond, but some people say there should no longer be a delay in getting the shot.

“Now that’s it’s been approved, there has been no reason not to get it,“ Gould said. “This is on you if you decide not to get the vaccine. It’s not on the science.”

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