On Monday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky formally endorsed a key vaccine panel's recommendation for full approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for everyone aged 16 and up.
Walensky's endorsement came after the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously for the recommendation of the vaccine's use.
"We now have a fully approved COVID-19 vaccine and ACIP has added its recommendation," Walensky said in a statement. "If you have been waiting for this approval before getting the vaccine, now is the time to get vaccinated and join the more than 173 million Americans who are already fully vaccinated."
The decision on Monday was just the latest vote of confidence granted to the Pfizer vaccine, which is now being marketed as Comirnaty. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued full approval for the Pfizer vaccine.
Two other vaccines, made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are currently approved under emergency use authorization. That means the FDA feels the vaccines are safe, and given the state of the pandemic, have said they are safe to use while final steps are taken before potential full approval.
The full approval of the Pfizer vaccine comes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths caused by the more contagious delta variant. Health experts say that the current spike is driven by those who remain unvaccinated.
All three COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and highly effective in fighting severe and deadly cases of the virus. Earlier this month, the CDC reported that 99.99% of fully vaccinated people had avoided a severe or deadly COVID-19 infection.