Biden calls on companies to mandate vaccines following FDA full approval

President BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE called on companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, voicing strong support for such requirements following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

“Today I’m calling on more companies in the private sector to step up the vaccine requirements that’ll reach millions more people,” Biden said during an address. “If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that.”

The president requested that business and government leaders follow in his footsteps after he previously ordered federal employees and onsite contractors to get vaccinated or endure regular COVID-19 testing. The administration has also directed troops, nursing home staff and workers at federal medical centers to get vaccinated. 

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“Do what I did last month: Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements,” he said in his plea to leaders. 

“It only makes sense to require a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19,” he added.

The Biden administration and experts have hoped that the FDA’s full authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will boost confidence in the shots and lead to a rise in vaccinations nationwide. 

But the FDA’s full endorsement is also expected to lead to a series of new vaccine mandates from organizations, which would require a larger pool of people to get the shots. 

The Pfizer vaccine, along with the two other vaccines available in the U.S., previously received an emergency use authorization from the FDA, which allowed the shots to be administered during a public health emergency. With full approval, the vaccine can also be given when a public health emergency isn’t in effect. 

During his address, Biden highlighted improvement in the U.S.’s vaccination rate after it had drastically fallen since its peak in mid-April before starting to tick up in July. 

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He cited that last week, more than 1 million doses were administered over three days in a row for the first time since June. Biden also pointed out that Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, which have lower vaccination rates, have recorded more new vaccinations in the past month than the previous two months combined. 

“The progress we’re making on vaccinations now is going to produce results in the weeks ahead,” he said. 

“This is critical progress, but we need to move faster,” he added, pleading for unvaccinated individuals to get their shots.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 51.5 percent of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated, including 60.2 percent of those who are eligible at 12 and older.