The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration today, likely opening the door for more employers to require the shots.
Although companies like Google, Facebook, Tyson Foods and Netflix have announced that employees at their work sites will need to be vaccinated, many others have been waiting for official word from the FDA, likely to fend off lawsuits.
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said the approval could serve two major purposes: convince employers to make vaccination a requirement for their workers – and in some cases their customers – and prompt Americans on the fence to get the shots.
Murthy told CNN yesterday, “For businesses and universities that have been thinking about putting vaccine requirements in place in order to create safer spaces for people to work and learn, I think that this move from the FDA … will actually help them to move forward with those kinds of plans.’’
Murthy cited a wealth of data showing Pfizer’s two-dose regimen is safe and effective.
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available in the U.S. under emergency use authorization granted by the FDA.
Moderna filed its requests for full approval after Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson is expected to go through the same steps in the coming months.
Some vaccine-hesitant Americans have questioned the safety of the jabs, citing the lack of full FDA approval.
Though the emergency use authorization came after large safety studies, full FDA clearance entails an exhaustive review of the vaccine’s safety record.
Given the high transmissibility of the virus’ delta variant, which has fueled a spike in infections nationwide, Murthy hopes FDA approval will persuade more people to get inoculated.
About 29% of eligible Americans have not received any vaccine shots.