Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will likely result in more businesses and universities initiating vaccine mandates.
“The full approval of the Pfizer vaccine … is important for a couple of reasons, … number one, there were some people who may have been waiting for this and who may come off of the fence, so to speak, to get vaccinated. So it may help to increase vaccination rates to some extent, but I also think that there are universities and businesses that have been considering putting in vaccine requirements in order to create a safer workplace or learning environment,” Murthy told Fox News on Aug. 22.
“And I think that this announcement from the FDA would likely encourage them and make them feel more comfortable in putting such requirements in place.”
The FDA fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23, after less than a year of emergency approval. Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock reassured the public about the safety of the approved vaccine.
“While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” Woodcock said in a statement on Aug. 23.
Meanwhile, there has been pushback from Republicans against mandates, citing civil liberties afforded under the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told health officials that the FDA approval for vaccines shouldn’t be rushed and appears to be for political purposes.
On Aug. 22, Johnson sent a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Woodcock, on the FDA’s decision not to hold a formal advisory committee meeting prior to full approval of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I see no need to rush the FDA approval process for any of the three COVID-19 vaccines,” the senator wrote. “Expediting the process appears to only serve the political purpose of imposing and enforcing vaccine mandates. The observational phases of FDA approval take time because there is no substitute for time in detecting and determining possible long-term harm.”
He said the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) should have been allowed to convene before the FDA approved the vaccine.
“Since the FDA’s last VRBPAC public meeting, in addition to the VAERS data, there have been a number of safety concerns raised by highly qualified medical professionals and researchers,” Johnson wrote.
The senator said that federal agencies should take more time to observe the vaccines and provide more information to the American public about the vaccines’ effectiveness.
FDA officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.