The Food and Drug Administration is expected to stamp full approval of the two-shot Pfizer vaccine this coming Monday, according to numerous national reports.
The FDA was aiming to issue full approval by Friday, but was still working through negotiations and paperwork with Pfizer, according to The New York Times. Individuals familiar with the planning told The Times that negotiations may go past Monday, but the agency has set an unofficial deadline for approval by Labor Day.
Nationwide, officials have voiced optimism that full approval of the vaccine could prompt a hesitant unvaccinated population to get their shot in the arm. A number of organizations and colleges are expected to institute vaccine mandates upon final approval, and the Pentagon this month said it has plans to require vaccinations for the nation’s 1.3 million active duty troops “no later” than the middle of September, unless FDA approval comes sooner.
The pending approval comes as case rates are on the rise across the country associated with the highly transmissible delta variant. Cases are still on the rise in Santa Barbara County, and the Public Health Department reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. This brought the county’s total active case rate to 690 infections.
On Friday, officials reported cases in the following areas: Lompoc and the communities of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village, 26; Santa Maria, 22; Santa Barbara and the unincorporated Mission Canyon, 19; Orcutt, 7; Goleta, 6; the unincorporated Goleta Valley and Gaviota, 6; the South County unincorporated areas of Summerland, Montecito and the City of Carpinteria, 4; Santa Ynez Valley, 3; North County unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama and New Cuyama and the City of Guadalupe, 3. Five cases were pending on Friday.
The vaccination effort is ongoing in the county, and as of Thursday, 72.7% of the county’s eligible 12 and older population had received at least one dose. Of that population, 63.7% are fully vaccinated.
Out of the entire county population, 53.9% of people were fully vaccinated as of Thursday.