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N.D. looks to expand vaccine after FDA approval of Pfizer shot

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burgum vaccine(KFYR)
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - With the Pfrizer vaccine fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, local entities are expecting an increase in appointments. And it’s all happening as the state, country, and world are seeing an uptick in cases.

Officials with the State Health Department say they’re worried about an increase in hospitalizations among children as well as an increase in re-infections.

“This is an important moment in our efforts to protect against COVID-19,” said NDDOH Disease Control Director Kirby Kruger.

After months of vaccine hesitancy from those concerned that the vaccine was rushed, health leaders said this stamp of approval gives the public more confidence in the Pfizer shot.

“It’s the same vaccine, of course, that was approved through the emergency use authorization, but now it’s that final stamp of approval to provide additional confidence for people that would’ve been hesitant,” said Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Director Renae Moch.

In a statement, Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., supported the vaccine, saying it’s key to keeping hospitalizations down.

“Vaccination continues to be the strongest defense against the illness. For those of you who have been waiting for FDA approval, we encourage you to make an appointment to protect yourselves and those whom you love,” said State Health Officer Nizar Wehbi.

And it comes during a summer spike in cases; but it’s not just the unvaccinated getting sick.

DOH said 236 of the state’s active cases are breakthroughs. Fifteen of them are hospitalized.

Last week, breakthroughs made up 7% of all active cases. Now, it’s 15%.

However, DOH also said all breakthrough cases make up just 0.4% of all vaccinated North Dakotans.

“There was a lot of information put out regarding why we would need boosters in the future, and part of the reason is because whether it’s waning immunity or it’s due to the Delta variant, but these vaccines do have reduced effectiveness,” said NDDOH Immunization Program Manager Molly Howell.

The DOH said they will be increasing the number of walk-in clinics to help administer vaccines and booster shots.

Health professionals expect the Moderna vaccine to be the next to receive full approval, but there are no dates set for that.

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