The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine among adults. It’s the first vaccine of its kind to receive the vote of confidence, and it may encourage more businesses to mandate employee vaccinations.
While the vaccine has been authorized for emergency use since mid-December, this new round of approvals means the FDA believes the benefits of the product outweigh the potential risks. Before offering its approval, the agency analyzed data from approximately 20,000 vaccine and 20,000 placebo recipients and found that the vaccine was 91 percent effective against severe illness and hospitalization arising from Covid-19 infection. The Pfizer vaccine has been received by 54 percent of Americans who have been fully inoculated.
“While millions of people have already safely received Covid-19 vaccines, we recognize that, for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a press release. Today’s achievement brings us closer to ending this epidemic in the U.S.
For businesses that have been thinking about putting vaccine requirements in place, but have yet to act, this move may push those plans ahead. While major companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Walmart, and Uber already require vaccinations for some or all of their staff — particularly those who work in corporate offices — some have neglected to extend the mandates to front-line workers. While United Airlines already mandated vaccinations among pilots and inflight crews, it recently announced that all employees would need to be vaccinated by late-October, or five week after the FDA approved the vaccine. In addition to requiring shots for the 1.4 million military personnel on active duty, the Pentagon also approved the vaccination. New York City now requires that all education staff receive the vaccine.
Remember, however that the mandated vaccine comes with risks. An employee who has a severe reaction to the vaccine, such as a serious injury or illness, could receive workers’ compensation benefits if the employer requires it. An employee may also refuse to receive the vaccine if they have religious or medical reasons. You should also consider the labor market. Potential employees may not apply if employers are reluctant to require the vaccine.
This headwind could be weakened if employers mandate vaccinations. Jay Starkman is the CEO of Engage PEO (an HR outsourcing company and consultant). If every country’s employer, private or public, had a mandate to vaccinate, there wouldn’t be a labor shortage.
Starkman notes also that employers may be granted additional legal protections by the approval. In some cases, groups file lawsuits against municipalities and institutions that enforce a mandate. One example is a case brought in New York City by an independent restaurant group. The claimants won’t have as much of an argument if the case goes to court. One vaccine is not just experimental. He says that although the final approval does not change the legal outcome, it eliminates one of the key legal arguments.
Publiated at Mon, 23 August 2021 @ 18:44.50 +0000