Cities across Southern New England hope FDA Pfizer approval will increase vaccination rates

TAUNTON, Mass. (WLNE) – A new milestone was reached in the fight against the coronavirus. The Federal Drug Administration approved its first COVID-19 vaccine of Pfizer.

City leaders across Southern New England are now hoping the full approval will encourage more people to get vaccinated and sway those who were on the fence.

“We hope the FDA approval is going to make some more people more comfortable with the vaccine,” Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell said.

Mayor O’Connell says the city brought the mobile COVID-19 vaccination bus to the high school in hopes to increase their numbers. As of last update, more than half the city’s residents were fully vaccinated. The clinic will also cater to eligible students returning to school in September.

“I think we’re fairing pretty well. Our cases have ticked up a little bit, but we’re trying to give the most factual information about the vaccine,” Mayor O’Connell said.

The full approval also paves the way for cities, workplaces, and schools to mandate the shot.

“I think this is really big news. I think the big impact will be on companies, schools, universities, hospitals, who have been waiting,” Dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health said. “I think with full approval, now, I think they will move forward with mandates. I expect a wave of mandates coming. I do think for some individuals it will make a difference, as well, but the big impact will be from mandates that are coming down the pike.”

For Mayor O’Connell, a mandate isn’t in the picture for the city, but she hopes people will take the full FDA approval as a message of safety.

“I don’t foresee any mandates coming from my office,” Mayor O’Connell said. “We’re encouraging people, we’re giving them the information they need, and I think people need to make that decision for themselves.”

The mobile vaccine clinic will be at the Taunton High School until Thursday. It’s open from 10am to 5pm. Written consent from parents is required for children ages 12-17.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News