The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID 19 vaccine for people 16 and older, making it the first vaccine to move beyond Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States. Many employers have been hesitant to impose a vaccine mandate until the FDA removed the EUA and fully approved the vaccine. Now that this concern is lifted and the risk of legal exposure diminishes by the day, employers may feel more comfortable requiring their workers to receive the vaccine as a condition of employment.
The decision will likely set off a surge of vaccine requirements by hospitals, colleges, corporations and other organizations. Employers should evaluate their situation and take a definitive position regarding vaccinations and protocols for non-vaccinated employees, new hires, vendors and customers. The recent swell of infections due to the Delta variant has hospitals overflowing and employers grappling with exposed and infected employees and onsite visitors. Ultimately, employers must take whatever steps are necessary to protect employees and minimize liability. Over the last few weeks, we have recommended at least considering mandating vaccines for all employees. As you contemplate this decision, please feel free to contact Schwartz Rollins at 404.844.4130.