National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci told CNN that the time has come for a nationwide vaccine mandate as Pfizer’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine got full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“I know I respect people’s freedom, but when you’re talking about a public health crisis that we’ve been going through for well over a year and a half, the time has come. Enough is enough. We’ve just got to get people vaccinated,” Fauci said.
“If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant which could complicate things.”
It was just one of Fauci’s customary flip-flops during this pandemic.
Just last week, Fauci said he does not foresee a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the United States. “I don’t think you’ll ever see a mandating of vaccine, particularly for the general public,” he said during a Healthline.com town hall on Aug. 17.
Fauci said at the time that everyone has the right to refuse a vaccine. “If someone refuses the vaccine in the general public, then there’s nothing you can do about that. You cannot force someone to take a vaccine,” he said.
FDA grants Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine full approval
On Monday, Aug. 23, the FDA gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older – potentially boosting public confidence in the company’s COVID-19 vaccine and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.
The widely anticipated decision replaces the emergency use authorization granted to Pfizer last December. (Related: Pfizer’s vaccine studies are based on FRAUD and put lives in danger, warns former Pfizer vice president.)
“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,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
As part of the approval process, the vaccine also got a brand name: Comirnaty. It’s pronounced “co-MER-na-tee” according to Scott Piergrossi, head of creativity for the Brand Institute, which crafted the name. It represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community and immunity.
Pfizer vaccine’s waning effectiveness
The FDA apparently ignored preliminary vaccine data published by Israel in July, which found that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was just 40.5 percent effective on average at preventing symptomatic disease.
The analysis, which was carried out as the delta variant became the dominant strain in Israel, appeared to show a waning effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine was only 16 percent effective against symptomatic infection for those who had two doses back in January. For people that had received two doses by April, the efficacy rate against symptomatic infection stood at 79 percent.
Myocarditis and pericarditis
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has also been linked to cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in teenagers and young adults.
Myocarditis is a condition that involves inflammation of the heart muscle. Symptoms can include fever and fatigue, as well as shortness of breath and a very specific type of chest pain. Patients tend to say their chest hurts more when they lean forward. The pain tends to subside when they lean back. Pericarditis, on the other hand, is the swelling and irritation of the thin, sac-like tissue surrounding the heart.
A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 30 found that 397 children between the ages of 12 and 17 were diagnosed with heart inflammation after receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. In June, Israel’s Ministry of Health also identified over 200 cases of heart inflammation in men between 16 and 30 years old, a vast majority of those happening at the younger end of that range.
Government expects more people to receive COVID-19 vaccine
President Joe Biden used the announcement to press for more people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Let me say this loudly and clearly: If you’re one of the millions of Americans who said that they will not get the shot until it has full and final approval of the FDA, it has now happened,” he said. “The moment you’ve been waiting for is here. It’s time for you to go get your vaccination. Get it today.”
Fauci said the FDA’s full approval of a COVID-19 vaccine could be a game-changer.
“There was some poll that showed about 30 percent of people who are not anti-vaccine, they were just waiting to get what they felt was the real final stamp of approval, which we just got today with the Pfizer product,” Fauci said.
“And those 30 percent are saying when that occurs, they will feel very, very comfortable about getting vaccinated. So right away, you’re talking about 30 percent. I hope they come through with what the survey said.”
More vaccine mandates on the way
Fauci, also the White House’s chief medical adviser, said that a lot of institutions, organizations and places of employment are going to say “if you want to work for us in person, you’ve got to be there and get vaccinated.” (Related: NYC restaurants REFUSE to enforce vaccine passport mandate and become “vaccination police.”)
The Pentagon announced it will go ahead with its plan to force members of the military to get vaccinated against the virus following the announcement that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was granted full approval by the FDA.
The full approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine also set off a chain reaction among colleges and universities.
On the same day the FDA decision came down, New York City announced that all public school teachers and other staffers will have to get vaccinated. One of the first to implement the requirement was the State University of New York (SUNY) system, which has nearly 400,000 students and more than 85,000 faculty members spread across its 64 campuses.
“With the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine today, the state mandated directive for all students to be vaccinated is now in place for all SUNY campuses,” said Holly Liapis, SUNY spokesperson. “Pursuant to SUNY policy, there is an up to 35-day grace period to allow students to provide proof of vaccination or submit a request for a medical or religious exemption for campus review.”
Several other prominent institutions such as the University of Minnesota, the University of Memphis, Louisiana State University, Washington State University and Colorado State University are all expected to impose vaccine mandates after consultation with their Boards of Trustees and state officials.
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