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FDA gives full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Coronavirus breaking news

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 years of age and older. The vaccine continues to be available for people 12-15 years of age and older and for the administration of a third dose in moderately or severely immunocompromised people through emergency use authorization.

“The vaccine is safe, effective against severe illness and death, and our best tool to beat this virus,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Today’s announcement from the FDA is good news. I urge all Kansans to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their neighbors, our frontline workers, and our economy.”

Moderna began the application for full FDA approval in June, nearly a month after Pfizer/BioNTech. Full approval is anticipated in several weeks. Johnson & Johnson has stated they will begin the approval process later this year.

As of Monday, August 23, 51.4% of Kansans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Millions of people have already received the COVID-19 vaccine and this approval should instill a high-level of confidence in all Kansans that the vaccine has met the high standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing set by the FDA,” said Lee Norman, M.D., Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Our state is seeing high numbers of people diagnosed with the Delta variant. The best way to fight this disease, especially the variant, is to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For those that were waiting on full approval and more data, it’s happened today. Everyone who is eligible should schedule their appointment today to get the vaccine.”

The vast majority of new COVID-19 cases in Kansas are the Delta variant. This variant continues to cause the number of cases to rise at the level that was seen in November 2020.

The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than twice as contagious as previous variants. The greatest concern is for those who are unvaccinated. Data shows that this variant causes more severe illness in people who are unvaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines reduce a person’s risk of contracting the virus, including this variant. Additionally, it has been shown to prevent severe disease and death.

KDHE urges all eligible Kansans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Find a free COVID-19 vaccine near you at the website

Latest statistics

There have been 358,843 COVID-19 cases in Kansas as of 9 a.m. Monday, resulting in 12,471 hospitalizations and 5,498 statewide deaths. There were 2,778 new cases, 54 new hospitalizations and four new deaths reported since Friday, Aug. 20.

Here are the total positive and probable cases for area counties to date as of 9 a.m. Monday, followed by the change from last Friday.

• Barton 2,852 (+19)

• Ellsworth 1,263 (+4)

• Pawnee 1,197 (+6)

• Rice 1,136 (+7)

• Rush 458 (+1)

• Russell 915 (+6)

• Stafford 392 (+3)

Barton County has now reached its 100th hospitalization for COVID-19, There have been 24 intensive care unit admissions and seven cases requiring mechanical ventilation.

Pawnee County has had 53 total hospitalizations, including 13 ICU admissions and no cases requiring mechanical ventilation.

Hospitalized cases by age group in Barton County:

0-9 years 1

18-24 years 1

25-34 years 2

35-44 years 3

45-54 years 13

55-64 years 23

65-74 years 25

75-84 years 14

85+ years 18

Here are the death totals for area counties. A COVID-19 death is any person that died where the death certificate lists COVID-19 or SARS-Co-V-2 as the underlying cause of death or a significant contributing factor to death. Since the Great Bend Tribune’s last report of area deaths on Aug. 11, there has been one new death in Rice County and two new deaths in Stafford County.

• Barton 51

• Ellsworth 25

• Pawnee 14

• Rice 13

• Rush 15

• Russell 29

• Stafford 13


As of 9 a.m. Monday, 1,497,005 Kansans – 51.4% of the total population – have been vaccinated with at least one dose and 1,201,858 second doses have been administered.

Here are the percentages of the population 12 years of age or older who have been vaccinated with at least one dose in area counties:

• Barton 49.01 (10,687 people)

• Ellsworth 57.26 (3,080)

• Pawnee 53.70 (3,096)

• Rice 46.59 (3.769)

• Rush 51.91 (1,372)

• Russell 45.90 (2,673)

• Stafford 46.85 (1,646)