Vaccine Mandates Start Rolling Out After FDA Gives Pfizer Shot Full Approval

Governments, school districts and businesses are all proceeding with new vaccine requirements.

Various institutions began rolling out COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Monday after the Food and Drug Administration gave its first full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech shots, and more are likely to follow suit in the coming days.

While many governments, schools and businesses have put vaccine requirement into place in recent weeks, others said they would hold off until the FDA granted a vaccine its full approval ― a step that goes further than the emergency use authorization that let vaccine distribution kick off in December.

Following the FDA’s approval on Monday, President Joe Biden urged decision-makers to put vaccine requirements into place.

“If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that,” he said at a news conference. “Require it.”

The biggest institution to take that step Monday was the Pentagon, which had said previously it would begin rolling out a vaccine requirement for all service members as soon as the FDA issued full approval for the shots ― or by mid-September if the approval had still not come by then. The requirement will affect more than a million active-duty service members.

“These efforts ensure the safety of our service members and promote the readiness of our force, not to mention the health and safety of the communities around the country in which we live,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Monday.

The New York City Department of Education, the largest school district in the U.S., also announced it will now proceed with a vaccine requirement for all public school teachers and other staff members.

State University of New York campuses are also going ahead with a vaccine mandate that gives the students, faculty and staff at all 64 SUNY schools 35 days to get both doses of the vaccine. The University of Minnesota and all of Louisiana’s public colleges and universities are also initiating vaccine requirements for students, they confirmed Monday.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that all state and public school system employees will now need to either get vaccinated or undergo regular testing “at minimum” of once or twice a week. Louisiana is doing the same with its state employees.

The FDA’s announcement triggered vaccine requirements across the private sector, too. CVS Health is now requiring all of its corporate staff and many of its store employees to be vaccinated ― a move that affects about 100,000 people. Chevron also became the first major U.S. oil producer to announce a mandate, which will be applied to select employees. United Airlines announced Monday that it was expediting its plans by a month and requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 27.

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