The Biden administration may look to implement vaccine mandates after the preventive treatments get full approval from the FDA, a health expert said.
After failing to meet the goal of inoculating 70% of all Americans by Fourth of July, the Biden administration is looking to more campaigns to get citizens vaccinated against COVID, especially in the face of rising infections and hospitalizations.
Right now, only 49.2% or 162 million Americans are fully vaccinated and a little over 56% have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. Now, a health expert believes that more drastic measures to get more people inoculated could be considered once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves these vaccines.
Health expert Andy Slavitt, who stepped down in June as President Joe Biden's COVID response coordinator, said the government and private entities might make vaccine mandates once one of the three COVID vaccines are fully approved by the FDA, the Christian Post reported. Right now, the COVID vaccines that have Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) in the U.S. are those from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen or Johnson & Johnson.
"Once the vaccines go through full FDA approval, everything should be on the table, and I think that everything will be on the table at the level of municipalities, states, employers, venues, government agencies," Slavitt, who was also previously the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama administration, told NBC News.
Pfizer and BioNTech applied for full approval with the FDA on May 7, 2021, while Moderna applied on June 1, 2021. Pfizer, whose vaccine was the first to be approved in the U.S., is confident their vaccine will be granted full approval by January 2022, at the latest, but acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said that a decision may be made before then.
While the Biden administration denied any plans of implementing vaccine mandates on the general public, it did earlier this month encourage private entities such as businesses and organizations to implement their own vaccine mandates.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that vaccine passports are "not currently the role of the federal government," but commended some private sector entities for implementing vaccine passports, which she called an "innovative step that...they should take."
Meanwhile, the White House declined to comment on whether the Biden administration will require the military and federal workforce to get vaccinated against COVID, despite the federal government already requiring some members of the military to get certain vaccinations.
Several colleges across the nation have already announced vaccine mandates, causing friction between the educational institutions and those who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID. The Biden administration continues on its campaign to go door to door and speak to the vaccine hesitant in the hopes of increasing its vaccine rates.
CNN reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIH director and White House public health adviser said during a recent Healthline.com townhall that he doesn't believe that there will "ever" be a "mandating of vaccine, particularly for the general public."