Listen

News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station

NPR

FDA's Pfizer Approval Could Boost Mountain West Vaccination Rates

Vaccination rates remain low in many parts of our region, especially Wyoming and Idaho. But public health officials hope the FDA's full approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine will encourage residents who are hesitant or unwilling.

Mark Dowell, an infectious disease expert and the Natrona County Health Officer in central Wyoming, is optimistic the FDA action will directly change some minds. Still, he doesn't expect a huge difference based on what he hears from the public.

"A few say, 'Yeah, when it gets approved, I'll think about it.' The very few say, 'Once it's approved, I'm going to go get it immediately,'" he said.

However, Dowell does expect more employers to now make it mandatory, and that could be a boost.

"Just in terms of volume, I'm thinking, employers making it mandatory will hit more people. Because they're going to want to keep their jobs," -- especially at medium or big companies, he said.

In the meantime, several states in our region plan to use the approval to reassure and encourage more residents to get the jab.

Support comes from

Nikki Forbing-Orr with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said in an email, "[W]e hope this will help nudge those who are hesitant to get vaccinated. We’ll be sharing fact-based information in our external communications in an attempt to address rumors and false information."

Previously, the FDA had authorized vaccines from Pfizer and other companies for emergency use.

Copyright 2021 Wyoming Public Radio. To see more, visit Wyoming Public Radio.

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for.  If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.