The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, likely opening the door for more employers to require the shots.
Although companies like Google, Facebook, Tyson Foods and Netflix have announced that employees at their work sites will need to be vaccinated, many others have been waiting for official word from the FDA, likely to fend off lawsuits.
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said the approval could serve two major purposes: convince employers to make vaccination a requirement for their workers – and in some cases their customers – and prompt Americans on the fence to get the shots. Murthy cited a wealth of data showing Pfizer’s two-dose regimen is safe and effective.
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available in the U.S. under emergency use authorization granted by the FDA. Moderna filed its requests for full approval after Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson is expected to go through the same steps in the coming months.
Some vaccine-hesitant Americans have questioned the safety of the jabs, citing the lack of full FDA approval. Though the emergency use authorization came after large safety studies, full FDA clearance entails an exhaustive review of the vaccine’s safety record.