When the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus shots for people 16 and older on Monday, President Biden seized on the moment.
“If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full F.D.A. approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that,” the president said. “Require it.”
The F.D.A. approval gives companies more cover to impose vaccine mandates and industry groups more ground to lobby local authorities, the DealBook newsletter reports. Some states have moved to block vaccine mandates. Arizona’s governor, for example, issued an order outlawing coronavirus vaccination as a requirement for employment.
Those actions made it difficult for companies with large national footprints to impose blanket mandates. Some have pushed back, like Norwegian Cruise Line in Florida, but most have stayed out of the fray.
Companies that do require vaccinations are finding growing support.
“Many companies have made the decision to mandate vaccines for some or all of their employees, and we applaud their decision,” the Business Roundtable, a lobby group, said Monday in a statement. “We also encourage policymakers, including at the state and local levels, to support — not impede — companies’ ability to make such a decision.”
More public sector employers are introducing mandates, easing the way for private employers to make similar moves. New York said it would require all 148,000 employees of the city’s Education Department to be vaccinated. The Pentagon is demanding that its 1.4 million service members receive the shot by the middle of next month.
Some of the latest corporate mandates:
Chevron is mandating vaccines for expats and for employees who travel internationally, as well as for the offshore work force in the Gulf of Mexico and for some onshore support personnel.
CVS Health says its pharmacists have until Nov. 30 to be fully vaccinated, while others who interact with patients, and all corporate staff, have until Oct. 31. The mandate covers about 100,000 employees.
Disney World said unions representing more than 30,000 employees had agreed to a mandate, citing the F.D.A.’s full approval, that would require workers to be vaccinated by Oct. 22.
Mandates may be the only way to significantly increase vaccination rates, given continued hesitancy about the shot. A recent poll found that three out of 10 unvaccinated people said that they would be more likely to get a fully approved F.D.A. shot, though some experts believe that this figure could be exaggerated.
More regulatory action is coming. Moderna’s application for full approval of its vaccine was filed in June, a month after Pfizer’s. Johnson & Johnson is expected to apply for full approval soon. And the F.D.A. is also weighing whether to authorize booster shots for the fully vaccinated, another twist for corporate vaccine mandates.
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