Vaccine providers: “Pfizer’s FDA approval could impact local vaccination rates”

WEBB CITY, Mo. – “Those who have been waiting for full approval should go get your shot now,” says President Joe Biden during a Monday press conference.

The FDA has given Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine full approval for use in people 16 and older. Those who are between 12 and 15 can still get the vaccine under emergency use authorization. It goes the same for immunocompromised people looking to get a third dose.

Convincing more people in the 4-states to get vaccinated is what pharmacists at Prater’s Pharmacy and Stone’s Corner Pharmacy hope the news will do.

“I hope that that gives people in the community another sense of encouragement that the vaccine is working and that there’s trust from the FDA,” says Amanda Wilson, a pharmacist at Prater’s Pharmacy in Webb City. “For some people, I do think that was a hesitancy that they had. So hopefully it will increase our vaccination numbers for the counties around here.”

Prater’s Pharmacy does vaccination by appointment. When KOAM spoke with Wilson on Monday, there hadn’t been many new appointments made. But, Wilson says that’s not surprising, since the news came out early in the day when many are at work. They are prepared to serve more people as they come.

“We do have Pfizer vaccine in stock in case there is more interest in that,” says Wilson.

“We’ve had some people in that have come in because of the FDA approval. And so, clearly, for some it’s gonna make a difference,” explains Chad Isaacs, a pharmacist and the owner of Stone’s Corner Pharmacy in Webb City. “People just want to feel comfortable about it. They want to feel like they’re making the right decision. This is at least a step in a direction to help people BE more comfortable getting vaccinated.”

Isaacs says since they offer the Pfizer vaccine on a walk-in basis, it’s hard to gauge how much more interest there was for the vaccine on the first day of approval.

Another aspect of the news that will be hard to gauge is the real-world impact on vaccine hesitancy. Many people have already taken to social media to say the approval doesn’t change their minds. Iola, Kansas resident Mikki Herrera explains that she is still on the fence.

“I am still leary of that,” says Herrera. “There are several Facebook groups out there with people who have had really bad reactions to the vaccine. So that scares me with those reactions, and I’m worried about that.”

Herrera explains that she and her husband both tested positive for COVID-19 in July. Their symptoms were mild, so they didn’t have to be hospitalized. Even after having the virus, she’s still apprehensive about the vaccines.

“In talking to my doctor after I recovered from COVID, he said I have natural antibodies. So he said he wasn’t in a big rush for me to be vaccinated,” says Herrera. “I just kind of want to see what long-term effects are and more studies. Cause I know it’s still so new, and I know like my doctor even said they’re still finding out new things about covid and the new strains that are coming out. I just kind of want to wait and see.”

The CDC says, “Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination.” The CDC also says people wh0 have already had and recovered from COVID-19 should be vaccinated, saying, “…unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.”

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