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VERIFY: Does full approval for Pfizer jeopardize emergency use of other COVID-19 shots?

Some say, since an EUA is granted if there aren't other approved treatments on the market, Pfizer gaining full approval could jeopardize use of other shots.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Armed with enough months of data on safety and efficacy, Pfizer is now seeking full approval for its COVID-19 shot from the Food and Drug Administration.

All three coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. have been operating under emergency use authorization.

The FDA granted the EUA to Pfizer in December 2020 for the two-dose vaccine to be used on people 16 years of age and older. Since receiving the EUA, more than 170 million doses of the vaccine have been delivered across the U.S.

But with Pfizer's application started, some are now sounding the alarm that the other vaccines could lose their emergency approval or prevent other ones from gaining one.

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The Question

If Pfizer's COVID-19 shot gets full approval, does that cancel or prevent emergency use authorizations on the other vaccines?

The Answer

An FDA spokesperson states that approval of Pfizer would not jeopardize the emergency use of the other brands of the vaccine.

While one condition of a EUA is the lack of approved alternatives, there are other factors to consider, like whether the approved shot is "adequate" in addressing the emergency situation.

For example, if one vaccine is approved, there might not be enough of it on its own to address all the public health needs, or it might only be useful for a limited slice of the population.

That means the other vaccines would still be needed to address the current health emergency.

According to the spokesperson, "If a vaccine is approved (licensed) by FDA, that would not preclude issuance or continuation of a EUA for another vaccine, as conditions would still be in place to justify the need for other authorized vaccines."

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