Businesses across New York State are being told to "require employees to get vaccinated or face strict" restrictions.
On Monday, the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
"I hope you choose to be vaccinated," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro tweeted after the approval. "A weapon in our arsenal. Please choose what’s best for you."
Until Monday, Pfizer's vaccine was available under emergency use authorization. The emergency use authorization remains in place for kids ages 12 to 15, though full approval is expected in the near future. Emergency use authorization also remains in place for a third vaccine dose.
"Great News—anyone who was waiting on FDA approval - it’s done! To anyone who needed that final push," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted. "Let’s vax up NY!"
Following the news, President Biden urged all businesses to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for employees.
"Let me say this loudly and clearly," Biden said during a press conference at the White House. "If you're a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader who has been waiting on full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that. Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements. Vaccination requirements have been around for decades. In fact the reason, most people Americans, don't worry about polio smallpox measles mumps and rubella today is because of vaccines. It only makes sense to require a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19."
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In his final hours as New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo also called on New York business leaders to require vaccinations.
"Every single employer in New York State should require all eligible employees to get vaccinated," Cuomo stated. "It's past time for pleading and cajoling - the vaccines are safe, effective, free, and readily available. The only way we'll beat COVID once and for all is by getting every single eligible New Yorker vaccinated. No more excuses - let's get it done, New York."
United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy believes the FDA's full approval will lead to more vaccine mandates from schools, businesses and hospitals. Moderna's COVID vaccine is expected to be formally approved in September, officials believe.
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