BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Sunday. Gov. Larry Hogan announced that Maryland has achieved the milestone of vaccinating 80 percent of adults with at least one dose, putting the state weeks ahead of Hogan’s Labor Day goal.
"We’re in much better shape than much of the nation," said Dr. Christopher Thompson.
Hogan expects a bigger boost with the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, which could come as early as Monday, according to the New York Times. Doctors said it could lead to an increase in vaccinations and businesses that mandate them.
"Full approval means that we think it is incredibly safe and that the benefits far far outweigh any potential side effects," said Thompson from Loyola University.
The full approval process is much more rigorous than Emergency Use Authorization and health officials hope the decision will encourage Americans who are hesitant to get vaccinated.
"The Kaiser Family Foundation did a nice study on this and it looks like there are a fair amount of people who will be convinced to get the vaccine once the government gives its final stamp of approval," said Thompson.
"That’s been making some people cautious because they wonder what’s the difference between approval and authorization? And really the differences are largely administrative. Going through a process, a process that really has never been accelerated historically," said Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Stuart Ray.
Doctors predict after the imminent approval, more businesses will issue vaccine mandates.
Businesses don't need full FDA approval to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine; they already have legal authority to do so but full approval could give any legal challenge less potency.
"We’ve often done this in the past, this requirement for school, requirement for employment has happened before. George Washington required inoculation against small pox in 1776, I think. This goes way back," said Ray.
Moderna is expected to complete its application for full approval this month.