What happened

It's finally happened -- the news you've been waiting for. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially fully approved the Biologics License Application for Cominarty, the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (PFE 0.88%) and BioNTech (BNTX -1.05%), this morning, and shares of stocks tied to the tourism industry are flying off the shelves in response.  

As of 12:20 p.m. EDT, Carnival (CUK 1.08%) (CCL 0.99%) stock is up 3% and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH 0.10%) stock is up 3.2%. And cruise lines aren't the only ones benefiting from this news today. In the airline sector, we're also seeing Spirit Airlines (SAVE 0.36%) fly 3.2% higher.

Three colorful arrows racing straight up on a black background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Comirnaty is the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive full approval from the FDA, so this is obviously good news for Pfizer and BioNTech, even if the approval is currently only for patients aged 16 and over. It should also be good news for the tourism industry, as greater levels of vaccination should make it safer to travel -- and encourage more customers to do so.

Consider: Up till now, Comirnaty has only been approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which basically meant that while the FDA wasn't 100% sure it was safe, the agency was pretty sure the vaccine was a whole lot safer than possibly catching the coronavirus.

This was good enough assurance to get 57% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated.

Now what

Now, with the FDA's full endorsement, resistance to getting the vaccine should begin falling among the remaining 43%.  

After all, Pfizer says it has "submitted a comprehensive data package that included longer-term follow-up data from the Phase 3 trial, where the vaccine's high efficacy and favorable safety profile were observed up to six months after the second dose." With this data justifying the FDA's decision, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says he's "hopeful this approval will help increase confidence in our vaccine, as vaccination remains the best tool we have to help protect lives and achieve herd immunity."

Investors in both cruise stocks and airlines stocks seem to agree.