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Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks into the origins of vaccine hesitancy
04:47 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

As a condition of the emergency use authorizations issued for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines, those companies are expected to work toward asking the US Food and Drug Administration for full approval – and some health officials are hoping it will happen soon.

These vaccines have been in use since mid-December under emergency use authorizations, known as EUAs. During the pandemic, real-world data have shown the vaccines are effective against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Wednesday he hopes Covid-19 vaccines will receive full FDA approval “very soon,” and that the FDA will work “as expeditiously as possible” on approval applications for coronavirus vaccines as they come in.

Progressing from authorized to approved would allow manufacturers to market and directly distribute their vaccines. It could also have an impact on vaccine mandates – and perhaps sway skeptics hesitant to get the vaccines now.

The road to FDA approval

Currently, the three Covid-19 vaccines distributed in the United States – made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are authorized, but not approved.

Due to the seriousness of the pandemic, vaccine makers originally applied for EUAs because the authorization process takes less time than what would be required for full approval. Emergency use authorization is what its name suggests – a medical product, such as a vaccine, that gets special FDA authorization to be used during an emergency.

When the health emergency is over, “then any EUA(s) issued based on that declaration will no longer remain in effect,” according to the FDA. So, vaccine makers will have to file a separate application for vaccines to be fully licensed.

CNN has contacted Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – the most recent Covid-19 vaccine to be authorized – about their plans to apply for full approval of their vaccines. None provided a timeline.

The typical approval process for vaccine developers requires completing lab research, pre-clinical testing and Phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials in humans. That has already been done for these coronavirus vaccines.

The FDA also re