Final FDA approval for Pfizer’s vaccine application for ages 16 and over is expected to strengthen the Covid vaccination requirement for employees in hospitals, universities, businesses and other organizations. The announcement by the U.S. Drug Regulatory Agency was made on Monday (23).
The Pentagon, for example, announced that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin would send directives to 1.4 million active members with orders to be vaccinated. There are still no more details on the determination.
Following the decision, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced that the city would require immunizations for its 148,000 teachers and employees in public schools, the largest education district in the United States. They must have received at least one dose by September 27 – the school year begins September 13.
With the announcement, Education Ministry employees will no longer be able to take tests on a weekly basis – a decision in July called for these tests or the vaccination of 340,000 employees. “We want schools to be extremely safe all year round,” said de Blasio.
In New York State, FDA approval makes compulsory vaccination effective for students attending courses at State University of New York, Albany, and City University of New York, for a total of 875 000 undergraduates.
Among private companies, the decision directly impacts United Airlines employees. Earlier this month, the airline announced that its employees would be required to present proof of vaccination within five weeks of final approval from the regulatory agency or by October 25, whichever comes first.
As an incentive, the company has introduced a one-day salary bonus for those who present proof before September 20, with the exception of pilots and flight attendants, who have already benefited from a benefit negotiated by the category union.
Even before final approval, however, other companies had already announced mandatory vaccination, such as Google and Disney. Health officials and President Joe Biden now expect more businesses and local governments to require their employees to be vaccinated and that final approval will encourage the 85 million people who can be vaccinated to get vaccinated.
“Do what I did last month. Demand that your employees get vaccinated or face strict restrictions, ”Biden said, referring to frequent testing, in a speech Monday.
In late July, the Democrat announced mandatory vaccinations for federal employees – anyone who chooses not to receive the immunizing agent would have to wear a mask, maintain a distance and be tested twice a week. The United States has 3.7 million federal officials and contractors, according to the Reuters news agency.
The country faces a drop in the pace of vaccinations as it sees the spread of the delta variant, initially identified in India, accelerate. The moving average of cases rose from 11,800 in early July to 147,300 this Sunday (22), and that of deaths, from 218 to 1,000 – the delta represents 98.2% of the samples analyzed, according to the Our World in Data platform.
With 73% of Americans over 18 having received at least one dose of the vaccine and 62.4% fully immune, the challenge has been to convince the hesitant. According to a Gallup Institute survey released in early August, 8% of adults still intend to be vaccinated, and 5% would not be vaccinated, but they could change their mind. The share of those who would not reverse the decision, by contrast, was 18% – a number that rose to 49% in September last year.
The organization interviewed 3,475 adults between July 19 and July 26, and the survey has a two-point margin of error.
For FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, this final approval could be the missing boost. The decision does not, however, include the use of vaccines in children aged 12 to 15, whose use continues in an emergency, while Pfizer gathers the data necessary to apply for a permanent authorization.
The growing number of children infected with coronaviruses worries American parents, who are preparing to return to school. In his speech, Biden tried to reassure them, saying severe cases in children are still very rare.
The FDA decision extended the vaccine’s validity from six to nine months and confirmed possible side effects – an increase in heart inflammation, especially in young men in the week after the second dose. The immunizing agent is also authorized for marketing under the name Comirnaty. Pfizer, however, said only the federal government would continue to distribute the doses in the United States.
With Reuters and the New York Times