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Brockton Health Provider Cautiously Optimistic That Pfizer Vaccine Approval Will Increase Vaccinations

BROCKTON (CBS) -- The Food and Drug Administration fully approved Pfizer's two-dose COVID vaccine on Monday. Public health officials said they were optimistic that the approval would encourage more people to get vaccinated.

"While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today's milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S," said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.

Maria Celli, the Chief Operating Officer at Brockton Neighborhood Community Health Center, said she is cautiously optimistic that the approval will nudge some individuals towards vaccinated but says that much more is needed.

"I don't think that the flood gates will open," Celli said.

In Brockton, 57% of the vaccine-eligible population is fully vaccinated. That means roughly 50% of the total population is unvaccinated for a variety of reasons.

"It hasn't been long enough to get a vaccine," said unvaccinated Brockton resident Dana Waters.

Unvaccinated resident Jimmy Hennessy said he won't get the vaccine because of a bad experience with a prior vaccine. He also claims he does not trust the FDA.

"The FDA is all big pharma executives, and we know who they're working for," Hennessy said.

Celli said more than a 100 members of the health center's staff remain unvaccinated according to a recent survey, many believing that they are young and healthy. A vaccine mandate is there is under discussion.

"I don't think frustration is what's driving our decisions. I think it's really genuine care for our staff and our community," Celli said.

While the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine may only nudge some individuals, experts believe more companies will seek vaccine mandates as a result.

"I think many both from the standpoint of wanting to protect health and individuals who work within their business organizations but also to try to protect the basic integrity of your workforce," said Dean Hashimoto, an associate professor of law at Boston College.

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