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When the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could receive full FDA approval

Right now the COVID-19 vaccines do not have full FDA approval. Instead, they have something called emergency use authorization.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some people are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine because it hasn't yet received full FDA approval, but what does that mean and when will it happen? 

Make no mistake, the FDA still considers these vaccines safe and effective, and they have already been through rigorous clinical trials to reach this point. 

Let's connect the dots

Pfizer and Moderna have both applied for that full approval in addition to the current emergency use authorization. But it can take several months for the FDA to give full approval to any vaccine. 

RELATED: VERIFY: 'Kids don't need the COVID-19 vaccine' | Doctors discuss safety, need of COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents

In an interview with the Washington Post, the FDA's top vaccine official said the process involves going through hundreds of thousands of pages submitted by the companies. 

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The FDA has stopped much of its other work to speed up the full approval but it's still taking time. The agency isn't giving a timeline yet but some experts estimate Pfizer could receive full approval by the fall. 

Whether that will persuade vaccine skeptics remains uncertain but lawmakers and health experts say official FDA approval could help more institutions make the vaccine mandatory. 

RELATED: Full approval could pave way for more mandatory COVID-19 shots

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