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FDA gives official approval to Pfizer vaccine

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By Jenny Goldsberry

The U.S. became the first country to officially approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 16 years old and older Monday. It is currently the only vaccine fully licensed by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to a statement from the FDA, the vaccine received a new name and “will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee).”

“The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals,” the statement read.

Then, Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. lauded the announcement. “The approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” Woodcock said in a statement. “While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product.”

Next Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla made a statement to commemorate the approval. Bourla hopes this latest update “will help increase confidence in our vaccine, as vaccination remains the best tool we have to help protect lives.”

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’

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On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.

The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.

Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.

“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”

“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”

While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.

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