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Hospital celebrates first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine

The FDA signed off on the Pfizer vaccine Monday.

WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. — In Wayne County, hospital officials are celebrating the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Wayne Memorial Hospital believes this will encourage more unvaccinated people to get a shot.

“It's really kind of proven to be safe,” said James Pettinato, a registered nurse and director of patient care services at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Pettinato has been with the hospital in Honesdale for more than a decade. He says hearing about the FDA's approval of the Pfizer vaccine is a victory over COVID-19.

Pettinato thinks this will change the minds of those who think the vaccine will do more harm than good.

“I know there's a lot of people that I've spoken to that were on the fence because it only had emergency-use authorization,” said Pettinato.

The fully approved Pfizer vaccine will be given to those 16 years and older and will be marketed under the name Comirnaty.

The FDA still has to approve the two other vaccines: Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.

Pettinato believes approvals for those aren't far behind.

"I think it's just a matter of the time needs to tick through in order to get those approvals and to be able to properly and safely evaluation the safety of the vaccine,” said Pettinato.

Officials with Wayne Memorial cited data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health that show 50% of the people in Wayne County are fully vaccinated. That means there's 50% of its population still to go.

For vaccinated people in the Honesdale area, this approval confirms their belief in getting the shot. For those unvaccinated, they're still not sold.

Jaime Stickelmyer has yet to get a shot and isn't sure if she will.

"COPD and a lot of health problems, and I'm just scared to get it. I don't know why,” said Stickelmyer. “There's a lot of different opinions and things going around, so I don't know what to do.”

Ed Holmes and his daughter,15, are both fully vaccinated.

He is also hoping that this will convince more people to get the shot.

“That's very positive. I believe in the vaccine. Everybody should get it. Keep the world safe,” said Holmes.

RELATED: FDA gives full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

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