Aug 24, 2021 - COVID
What the Pfizer vaccine's FDA approval could mean for Colorado
A photo of a gloved hand holding a vile of a dose of the Pfizer vaccine
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

More businesses are weighing whether to require the jab for employees and patrons — and interest is only expected to increase in the weeks ahead.

Driving the news: The Food and Drug Administration on Monday fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for those age 16 and older, marking the first COVID-19 inoculation to receive total authorization from the federal government.

Why it matters: The move is expected to usher in a wave of new vaccine mandates by businesses across the country, including here in Colorado, per The New York Times.

State of play: Some restaurants, bars and businesses in Denver and around the state are already requiring proof of vaccination. But they're still the minority.

  • A Colorado Restaurant Association survey taken Aug. 6-9 found the vast majority of restaurants that responded don't plan to institute mask or vaccine requirements for their staff or guests unless mandated by local or state government to do so.
  • In the Colorado Chamber of Commerce's latest poll from May, none of its member businesses indicated that they have required vaccines for employees.

What they're saying: "My guess is that there may be a shift" in large companies' COVID-19 policies that could cause a "ripple effect," Katie Lazor, executive director of EatDenver, tells Axios.

  • For now, many industry leaders, including the head of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, say it may be a bit too early to tell how far the ripples will reach.

What to watch: In the wake of the Pfizer vaccine's new FDA status, the Colorado Chamber of Commerce is planning a new survey in which members will once again be asked if they plan to mandate vaccines, Axios has learned.

  • The poll is slated for release within the next two weeks, according to spokesperson Cynthia Meyer.

The big picture: Experts say the new FDA clearance could boost confidence in the vaccine and advance progress toward herd immunity here and nationwide.

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