BREAKING: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine receives full FDA approval


The Office of the President releases new information regarding masks, vaccinations and how the fall 2021 semester will look.

Kylee Haueter

The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for ages 16 and over Monday morning. 

The approval could start an increase in vaccinations in those that were previously hesitant and may be enough for employers, schools and universities to announce new vaccine mandates.

This is the first coronavirus vaccine that has received full approval from the FDA. Up until now, the vaccines had been administered under an Emergency Use Authorization that the FDA enacted last year. 

Iowa State is currently encouraging vaccines and masks, but not requiring them. The Board of Regents said in May that none of the Iowa Regents schools are allowed to require masks or distancing in classrooms. 

In a media availability on Aug. 17, associate vice president for student health and wellness and director of Thielen Student Health Center Erin Baldwin said that part of whether or not to require the COVID-19 vaccine depends on FDA approval.

“Some of that is a wait on when it gets full FDA approval, and then further conversation about what that might mean for the Board of Regents institutions and Iowa State,” she said.

Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen sent out a campus-wide email Monday urging students to get vaccinated. 

“First, if you haven’t done so, please get the COVID-19 vaccine,” the email said. 

“The scientific evidence is clear – the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing you from getting seriously ill and it lowers the risk that you will transmit the disease to others. It’s important to get vaccinated even if you’ve already had COVID-19. The vaccine is readily available for free at our campus vaccination clinics and will continue to be offered at Thielen Student Health Center,” it said.