Coronavirus: FDA aims to give final OK to Pfizer vaccine by next month, report says

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sped up its timetable to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine and hopes to complete the process by the beginning of September, The New York Times reported.

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The move comes as a new surge of COVID-19 infections are spreading across the country.

But the FDA’s unofficial deadline is Labor Day or sooner, the Times reported, citing “multiple people” familiar with the plan. The FDA said in a statement that its leaders recognized that approval might inspire more public confidence and had “taken an all-hands-on-deck approach” to the work.

Several universities and hospitals, the Defense Department and at least one major city -- San Francisco -- are expected to mandate inoculation once a vaccine is fully approved, the Times reported.

The delta variant is spreading even though 192 million Americans have received at least one shot, the newspaper reported. The nation is averaging nearly 86,000 new infections a day, an increase of 142% in two weeks, according to a New York Times database.

>> Coronavirus: NYC to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining and gyms

The Times report comes on the same day that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for anyone wanting to dine indoors or work out in a gym.

The “Key to NYC Pass,” will begin in mid-August and will be phased to full effect by Sept. 13, according to NBC News. The program will also apply to other indoor activities, according to the Times.

>> Coronavirus: Starbucks, McDonald’s, Home Depot to require workers wear masks inside all locations

The delta variant of the virus has caused drastic actions by cities and businesses, and several national retailers and restaurant chains are requiring indoor masks for employees, regardless of their vaccination status.

Starbucks Corp., McDonald’s Corp. and Home Depot Inc. announced plans Monday to resume mask requirements for workers.

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