FDA Approval for ModernaThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given full approval to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use in those ages 18 and older. 

Moderna joins the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which the FDA gave full approval to last August for use in ages 16 and older. Ages 5 to 15 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine under an FDA emergency use authorization. 

Millions of Arizonans have already received these free and highly effective vaccines. If their track record for safety and effectiveness hasn’t been enough to make you want to get vaccinated, I hope full approval for the Moderna vaccine will provide even more confidence in the decision to get this lifesaving protection.  

Nearly 5 million Arizonans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for about seven out of 10 Arizonans. Of these, more than 4 million have been fully vaccinated. 

Nearly 1.5 million people, about 37% of those eligible, have received COVID-19 booster doses to make sure their protection is up to date. A booster dose is recommended for both Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine recipients, and you can mix and match if you wish to receive a booster different from the vaccine you received initially. 

Benefiting from 20 years of research into coronaviruses, both vaccines with full FDA approval use mRNA technology to teach the immune system how to fight COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed a clinical preference for mRNA vaccines over the single-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine and recommends that those who initially received the J&J vaccine get boosted with Moderna or Pfizer. 

COVID-19 vaccines are the best protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, including the Omicron variant that has fueled the recent spike in cases. During November, unvaccinated individuals were 17.5% more likely to be hospitalized and 31.1% more likely to die from COVID-19 than the fully vaccinated. Our first analysis of data from December, when Omicron began pushing aside the Delta variant, will be available Wednesday. 

If you haven’t already been vaccinated, please do so as soon as you can by visiting one of the hundreds of pharmacies, doctors’ offices, or pop-up clinics around the state. You can find a location near you at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine.