Following full FDA approval, should employees be required to get COVID vaccines?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that it has given full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of the virus in people 16 years of age or older.
“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., acting FDA Commissioner, in a statement. “While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product.”
Dr. Woodcock said that the agency’s approval of the vaccine as well as the safe experiences of millions of people who have already received it should “instill additional confidence” in those who were unwilling to be immunized under the emergency use authorization.
The Kaiser Foundation found that 31 percent of those who have yet to get vaccinated had said they would be more likely to do so after the FDA gave its full approval. A study published last month by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh reported that vaccine hesitancy among U.S. adults decreased by one-third between January and May of this year.
The government has reported recent increases in daily vaccination rates spurred by the rapid rise in numbers of people sickened by the Delta variant. The numbers of children being hospitalized has also risen as the new variant spreads more quickly, particularly among the unvaccinated.
News coverage has begun to focus more on the reactions that vaccinated people have to those who refuse to get their shots. It is becoming increasingly common for vaccinated individuals to call for government or business mandates as cases spread as a result of what they see as shortsighted and often tribalistic behavior on the part of those refusing vaccines.
- FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine – U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- How Full FDA Approval Could Spur Vaccination – Kaiser Family Foundation
- Researchers Identify Groups Hesitant about COVID-19 Vaccine – Carnegie Mellon University
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers and other employers mandate vaccines for all employees (except those with medical exemptions) based on the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shots? Should this rule be extended to customers shopping in stores, as well?