President Biden Monday cheered the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration and urged American companies and government agencies to make the shot mandatory.
With his pandemic approval numbers flagging, Biden jump-started his plea for more Americans to get the lifesaving shot, armed with new ammunition to counter widespread anti-vaxxer propaganda.
“The moment you’ve been waiting for is here,” Biden said. “It’s time for you to go get your vaccination.”
Biden called on corporate America, schools and other public organizations to use the new decision to mandate vaccinations to keep workplaces safe and help end the stubborn pandemic.
He noted that he has already ordered the military and federal workers to get the shot.
“I’m calling on more companies to step up,” Biden said. “Do what I did: Require your employees to get vaccinated.”
The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech now carries the strongest possible endorsement from the U.S. government, eliminating the argument by vaccine skeptics that it is somehow untested or experimental.
The Pentagon quickly announced it will press ahead with plans to require members of the military to get the vaccine within a matter of weeks.
New York City also announced public school teachers and other employees will be required to get the lifesaving jab.
The White House is anxious to use the new authorization to increase the pace of vaccinations, which it believes is the only way to keep a lid on the virulent delta variant of COVID-19 and any future strains.
Biden compared the COVID-19 vaccine to other shots that are widely required in American society, like the jabs that have effectively eliminated once-deadly diseases like polio, smallpox, mumps, measles and rubella.
More than 200 million Pfizer doses have been administered in the U.S. — and hundreds of millions more worldwide — since December.
U.S. vaccinations hit a peak at more than 3 million a day in April and dipped to just 500,000 a day amid widespread complacency about the pandemic.
With the delta variant spreading fast, more Americans are getting the vaccine, with more than 1 million doses a day given Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Biden noted that vaccinations are up the most in states that are getting hit the hardest by the delta variant, including Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.
“All around the world peeps want these vaccines,” Biden said. “Here in America, they’re free and available to all.”
Officials believe vaccine mandates and the FDA approval will keep the pace of vaccinations high, especially with people returning to school and other workplaces in the fall.
Just over half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated with one of the country’s three options, from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.
Moderna has also applied to the FDA for full approval of its vaccine. J&J said it hopes to do so later this year.
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