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Cutler Hall on Ohio University's campus in Athens, Ohio. (FILE)

Pfizer receives full FDA approval, OU yet to discuss next steps

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, announced Aug. 23 that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been granted full approval for individuals 16 years of age and older, making it the first vaccine to be approved by the FDA. 

According to an FDA news release, Pfizer has been available for emergency use since Dec. 11, 2020. However, Ohio University students were officially offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine through the university in April when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Ohio would begin working to vaccinate all college students who wanted a vaccine. 

While OU began vaccinating students immediately following this announcement, it wasn’t until the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused that OU began administering the Pfizer vaccination. 

In July, DeWine signed a bill that prevents universities from requiring students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations that have not been granted full FDA approval, according to a previous Post report. Additionally, the bill stipulated that unvaccinated individuals will be protected against unequal treatment based on vaccination status. 

Although Pfizer has been granted FDA approval, University Spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said OU has not yet made any decisions regarding a change in its current COVID-19 health protocols. 

As of Aug. 5, OU requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when in indoor campus spaces. Additionally, vaccinated students were only required to participate in asymptomatic testing upon arrival to campus, while unvaccinated students are required to test weekly. 

The university will be meeting internally with public health experts to “determine next steps, if any,” Leatherwood said in an email. 


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