White House, physicians urge employers to impose vaccine mandates following full FDA approval

President Joe Biden called on employers to require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during an Aug. 23 news conference held a few hours after the FDA announced it had granted full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

"I'm calling on more companies in the private sector to step up with vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people," President Biden said. "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 — require it. It only makes sense to require a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19."

The American Medical Association also endorsed vaccine mandates among employers in private and public sectors. 

"The simple fact is unless a significant percentage of our population is vaccinated against COVID-19 — we could be stuck fighting this virus for many more months or even years to come. Now is the time for the public and private sectors to come together, listen to the science, and mandate vaccination," Gerald Harmon, MD, the AMA's president, said in a Aug. 24 statement.

The White House has increased its efforts to require COVID-19 vaccinations among certain workforce groups in recent weeks, as the rapid spread of the delta variant continues. 

President Biden on July 29 required all federal workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing, and he announced Aug. 18 that all nursing home workers must be vaccinated as a condition for nursing homes receiving federal funds. Immediately after the FDA announced its full approval for Pfizer's vaccine, the Pentagon said it would require active duty military members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.


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