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In Letter To Biden, Hogan Calls For Approval Of Vaccines For Children

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Now that the Maryland-based FDA has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine, the state Department of Health hopes the move will be a boost to its vaccine operations.

"This is great news. One of the more positive days we've had in this pandemic," said Dr. David Marcozzi, Chief Clinical Officer at UMMC

"This is a clear indication that the FDA has concluded that this is a safe and effective vaccine," Dr. Clifford Mitchell with the Maryland Department of Health said. "But even without that approval, it's important for people to understand that millions of doses... of those vaccines have been given, and they have all been safe and effective."

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan called on the federal government to take action.

"The lack of full approval remains the most significant hurdle to reaching those who are still hesitant," Hogan said during a coronavirus briefing Wednesday.

The governor also called on full FDA approval of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. He wants boosters made available immediately for seniors and other vulnerable populations, and he wants expedited vaccine approval for children ages 5 to 11. They cannot get the vaccine right now.

He has written President Biden about his concerns.

But the FDA is not yet ready to act on those requests.

"The FDA will need to review the data, and it is not part of this [Pfizer] approval. We need to look at both safety and efficacy data," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the Acting FDA administrator.

The FDA's Pfizer approval Monday could lead to more vaccine mandates from both private employers and the government. Already, the state is giving nursing home and hospital employees less than a week to get their first vaccine doses or face regular testing.

"All of those are areas where we are reaching out and communicating with those providers and those institutions and trying to encourage vaccinations and see how that is going," Dr. Mitchell said.

The FDA approval has calmed the anxieties of some.

"I feel better. It ensures my decision because one, I didn't want to get it before because the FDA didn't approve it. So now the FDA approved it, it's like ok I feel more comfortable," said Rufus Smallwood, who received Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Maryland reported more than 900 new coronavirus cases Monday, but the positivity rate fell back below 5%.

Governor Hogan, a cancer survivor, told CBS News' "Face the Nation" that he has already received his third vaccine dose, as allowed under FDA regulations.

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