Cook County health official hopes FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine will prompt more to get shot

A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine ahead of being administered at the Royal Victoria Hospital on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK's history on December 8, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine ahead of being administered at the Royal Victoria Hospital on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK's history on December 8, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo credit Liam McBurney - Pool / Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A top Cook County public health official is hoping the full FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine will result in many more people rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.

Dr. Kiran Joshi, the senior medical officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, said the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine is long overdue and puts a stamp on what has already been known to have been a robust review process by federal officials.

“The FDA approval is a good thing, but it’s a formality, because we know from the research and our experience in the real world that these vaccines are incredibly safe and incredibly effective,” he said.

National polling numbers had indicated 30 percent of the unvaxxed had been claiming they were holding off getting a vaccine until there’d been full FDA approval. Dr. Joshi hopes the next few weeks show an uptick in vaccinations.

He said the Cook County Department of Public Health, as it has throughout the pandemic, will be updating its messaging to try to get more people convinced to get vaccinated.

“As new information has come to light, we’ve always done our best to push that information out over social, mass media, and every channel that we have available at our disposal. This will certainly add to the tools in our tool box.”

Dr. Joshi said the county will continue to push the message that COVID vaccines are safe and effective.