Meanwhile, protests against vaccine mandates are occurring across the country.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says that the FDA’s expected approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will likely lead to more universities and businesses requiring immunizations for students and employees.
Speaking to Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” Murthy declined to confirm the federal Food and Drug Administration’s plan to formally OK the vaccine Monday — but said his hope is that a “full approval,” as opposed to its current “emergency” one, would push more Americans to get their shots.
“There are universities and businesses that have been considering putting in vaccine requirements in order to create a safer, a workplace, a learning environment,” Murthy added.
“I think this announcement from the FDA would likely encourage them and make them feel more comfortable in putting some requirements in place.”
The FDA granted Pfizer its full approval of its COVID vaccine on Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 170,821,621 people, representing 51.5% of the U.S. population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while at least 60.7% have received at least one dose.
Murthy on Sunday noted that this sample size has shown the vaccines are effective and that people should get vaccinated as soon as possible, regardless of the status of federal approval.
“I think what is important for us to realize is that we have had strong evidence from real world data that this vaccine has been doing remarkably well and has maintained a strong safety profile,” he said. “We have given it to hundreds of millions of people and we have seen that it’s doing its job.”
Meanwhile, protests against vaccine mandates are occurring across the country. For example, one in Washington state drew 150 people.
More than 150 people took to the sides of Highway 410 Wednesday evening in Buckley to protest recent vaccine mandates for state and healthcare workers in a “Rally for Medical Freedom.”
Amid honking cars and waves of support, protestors held signs reading “Vax Me If You Can” and “My Body My Choice.” They expressed a variety of opinions on the vaccine itself, but most agreed on one thing: It shouldn’t be mandated.
Hannah Kilcup, who organized the event, was already planning to protest Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates when, hours before the rally began, the stakes became personal.
Gov. Jay Inslee, who a week earlier mandated vaccinations for most state employees and healthcare workers by Oct. 18, extended that requirement on Wednesday to teachers and staff, such as bus drivers and coaches, in K-12 and higher education, as well as many childcare providers. He’d been urged to do so a week before by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) head Chris Reykdal.
Kilcup, a library media teacher with the Enumclaw School District who lives in Buckley, is included under that mandate.
“I wasn’t surprised, and I’m not scared,” Kilcup said Wednesday. “I’ve been preparing for this. … I don’t want to speak for everybody, but I know that I don’t feel respected or valued by (Inslee) or (Reykdal) when we’re not allowed the choice. When I agreed to this job, that wasn’t part of the qualifications.”
There was also a protest in Bellingham, Washington as well.
In Bentonville, Arkansas, people lined up in front of the Walmart Home Office to protest the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees.
In July, Walmart announced all Home Office workers and management staff members who travel within the U.S. will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 4.
The vaccine will not be mandated for the company’s front-line workers because Walmart said those employees have a lower vaccination rate than managers.
Matthew Dickson, a Walmart employee, protested Sunday against his company’s mandate.
“It literally broke my heart. I was very distraught by that, to think that company I love and have worked for for many years would make me have to make a decision for whether or not I could provide for my family, or whether or not I would have to take a medical procedure,” Dickson said.
There was also a vaccine mandate protest in a little town in New York, where healthcare workers are now ordered to get the vaccine.
“Last year, when we held up all the nurses and doctors as heroes, they’re still heroes this year, they work through, and they did a great job with no vaccine. So if they still choose, they’re educated they choose not to get the vaccine I support their right to choose that to make that decision,“ said Rachel Kimble, Vaccine Mandate protester.
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