The Food and Drug Administration will give final approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as early as Monday. The significance of this move is that it will allow states and private companies to mandate vaccines for work, school, and businesses.
The approval is expected to pave the way for a series of vaccination requirements by public and private organizations who were awaiting final regulatory action before putting in effect mandates. Federal and state health officials are also hoping that an approved vaccine will draw interest from some Americans who have been hesitant to take one that was only authorized for emergency use, a phenomenon suggested by recent polling.
Some universities and hospitals are expected to mandate inoculation once a vaccine is fully approved. The Pentagon this month said it planned to make Covid vaccinations mandatory for the country’s 1.3 million active-duty troops “no later” than the middle of next month, or sooner if the F.D.A. acts earlier.
FDA approval will solidify the two-tiered system that will separate those who have been vaccinated from those who haven’t. No doubt the approval will spur some people to get vaccinated who were on the fence previously, but as far as leading to a mass movement toward vaccinations, it’s not likely.
The courts have consistently ruled that public health officials have the authority to force you to get vaccinated if you want to work in certain sectors of the economy, including nursing homes, hospitals, police, and other first responders. And it appears that most private businesses will follow suit and require all employees who can be vaccinated to get jabbed. There will be opt-outs of the policy for those who might be allergic to the vaccine or have a religious reason not to get it.
Pfizer is going ahead with plans to ask for FDA authorization of a vaccine booster shot.
Once it obtains the approval, Pfizer-BioNTech is planning to quickly ask the F.D.A. to approve a third dose as a booster shot. The Biden administration on Wednesday announced that fully vaccinated adults should prepare to get booster shots eight months after they received their second doses, beginning Sept. 20. Pfizer is expected to finish submitting data that it says shows a third shot is safe and effective next week.
The COVID nightmare is continuing and will continue until some kind of magic bullet is found that will slay the COVID dragon and all its variants. We still don’t know if healthy vaccinated individuals really need a booster shot, but the CDC is going to recommend you get one due to an “overabundance of caution.”
Some have suggested a return to lockdowns and other restrictions. A nationwide lockdown isn’t likely and not for the reasons you may think.
If we cut off demand and re-introduce supply chain bottlenecks by sending everyone home, growth will slow but inflation very well may not. That’s the absolute worst scenario and could very well cause the stock market to crash. Handing out more checks will make the long run even worse. The labor market is already strained by a lack of workers and extending more benefits when there are 10 million jobs available will only increase the odds off a major faceoff between employers and workers that leads to strikes, unionization and protests that slow the recovery.
All of this is to say nothing of the emotional response that people will have if they’re told they the vaccinations were for nothing. That’s a recipe for unrest in the streets if there’s ever been one.
So we’re going to have to grin and bear it — probably something that should have been debated shortly after the first lockdowns were announced over a year ago.
People will continue to get sick. People will continue to die — including children. Forcing people to get vaccinated isn’t the answer nor is forcing them to wear masks a viable policy. Left to their own devices, people generally make the right decision for themselves and their families.