PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday, signaling an increased level of confidence in the vaccine’s efficacy and safety.
The Pentagon announced shortly thereafter that it would require service members to get vaccinated. More public institutions, like schools and government agencies, are expected to follow suit in requiring vaccination.
Businesses already have the authority to require their workers to receive the vaccine, but some employees are exempt. Officials said the number of businesses requiring both employees and customers to show proof of vaccination could increase as a result of the FDA’s full approval.
The recent move may also may quell concerns for those skeptical of the vaccine, which until now, was being administered under emergency use authorization.
Under emergency use, more than 200 million doses of Pfizer’s shot were given in the U.S. over the past nine months – giving the FDA the evidence it needed to issue its highest safety recommendation.
The U.S. is the first country to fully approve the shot for people 16 and up. Full approval for younger Americans has not yet been issued.
“We have seen mandated vaccines through employment be really significant in increasing the vaccination rate for other diseases,” said Kim Toevs with the Multnomah County Health Department.
The Pfizer shot is still under emergency authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds as data is reviewed.
As for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – the FDA is reviewing Moderna’s application for full approval which could come in a few weeks. Johnson & Johnson still has to apply for full approval. State workers healthcare workers and educators in Oregon will have to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.