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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

More employers are likely to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their workers now that the Pfizer shot has gotten full approval from the FDA.

Driving the news: Chevron, the Pentagon and New York City schools imposed vaccine mandates within hours of the FDA's announcement, and experts say more public and private employers will likely follow suit soon.

"What we've seen is employers don't want to be the first in their industry but certainly, as other comparable companies begin to mandate the vaccine, they feel comfortable as well mandating it for their workers," Devjani Mishra, a leader of the COVID task force at San Francisco-based law firm Littler, told Axios.

  • ”This hopefully brings the temperature down a little bit ... where we're no longer talking about something that's experimental,“ she said.

By the numbers: About 12% of employers were planning to impose either a broad mandate or a requirement for subsets of their workers in the near future, according to a Littler survey of more than 1,600 in-house lawyers, C-suite executives and HR professionals.

  • That's in addition to 9% of employers already mandating vaccines for some or all of their employees.

The big picture: Other factors tied to the approval could also drive up vaccine rates. For instance, experts have hypothesized for months that full approval might push the hesitant to finally get the shot.

  • "I see this in my own medical practice where I have patients who haven't gotten vaccinated ... a fair number of them say, 'I don't want to take something that's experimental,'" said Jeffrey Singer, a general surgeon and senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
  • Yes, but: Some experts are afraid higher uptake might come from parents seeking shots for kids who aren't yet eligible. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discouraged pediatricians from administering the vaccine to kids 11 and under until data was available.

The other side: "I'm all for this approval. I just don't think it's going to be a game-changer in terms of vaccine uptake,“ said Andrew Noymer, associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine. “We’ve seen so much death and destruction. If that's not enough to get people to vaccinate, why would some bureaucratic distinction be enough?”

Go deeper

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds — Moderna says vaccine shows strong immune response in kids
  2. Health: COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought — 96% of Tyson Foods employees vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline — U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers
  3. Politics: Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools — Alabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandate — Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 26, 2021 - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.

Oct 26, 2021 - Health

New York City police union files lawsuit against vaccine mandate

Combination images of New York City Patrolman Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images/David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

New York City's biggest police union filed a lawsuit Monday against Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all NYC public employees.

Why it matters: The mandate requires all city employees to have had at least one dose by this Friday. They must show proof of vaccination or they'll be placed on unpaid leave. The Police Benevolent Association of New York tweeted Monday that it's seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the mandate, pending the outcome of its lawsuit.

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