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Call for Vaccine Approval

The US Food and Drug Administration should grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, argues Scripps Research's Eric Topol in an op-ed at the New York Times.

Currently, vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have emergency use authorizations from FDA, which allow them to be administered, though Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have announced that they are seeking approval from FDA. That would enable them to market the vaccine directly to consumers.

This, the Verge notes, could spur people currently reluctant to get the vaccine because it is unapproved to get vaccinated and, as the New York Times has previously noted, approval could make it easier for companies, schools, and government agencies to require vaccinations.

Topol says in his op-ed that the "stakes could not be higher" to boost vaccination rates as the more transmissible Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is becoming more and more prevalent in the US. He further argues that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have been highly analyzed and shown to be effective – there's more evidence they work, he argues, than there is for the Alzheimer's disease drug aducanumab the agency recently, and controversially, approved.

"The lives and health of millions of Americans rest on the FDA's decision to fully license these vaccines," Topol writes. "In the wake of its approval of aducanumab, it's frankly unfathomable that mRNA vaccines have been proved safe and effective in hundreds of millions of people and yet still have a scarlet 'E.'"