The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued full authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals age 16 and up on Monday.

The vaccine remains under emergency use authorization (EUA) for those age 12-15 years and for the administration of the third dose option for individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

The full licensed approval from the FDA is given after more than nine months of data review and continued case study. The Pfizer vaccine has been available in Tennessee since December 2020 with approximately 3.4 million Pfizer doses administered to date.

“The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) wants to remind Tennesseans the COVID-19 vaccines are our best defense in preventing the continued spread of the virus,” stated a news release from TDH. “Vaccination rates across the state have increased over the last month as the state experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant. In particular, younger Tennesseans are choosing to receive the vaccine with the highest rate of increases in the 12-15 age group and the 16-20 age group.”

Additional guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is expected later this week and the department is encouraging providers to review that guidance once released. TDH will adhere to ACIP guidance regarding the administration of the vaccine.

In addition, preparations are being made at county health departments in anticipation of continued demand.

Visit www.Vaccines.gov to find a vaccine site offering the Pfizer vaccine. In addition, local health departments across the state will be administering the COVID-19 vaccine with no appointment necessary.

Individuals seeking more information on the COVID-19 vaccines can visit covid19.tn.gov or www.vac cines.gov to schedule an appointment with a local vaccine provider.

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