Full FDA approval of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could set new mandates in motion

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could give full approval to Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine on Monday, possibly kicking off a number of vaccine mandates for some schools and businesses in Minnesota.

Some businesses and organizations were waiting on this final approval to roll out a vaccine mandate.

The Minneapolis Regional Chamber is helping about 2,300 businesses navigate the unknown.

"We were all sort of thinking Labor Day it was going to be that benchmark as to when a lot of folks would start coming back and now that seeming a little unlikely again,” said Grace Waltz, Minneapolis Regional Chamber vice president of public policy.

Labor Day is right around the corner, but Waltz said normalcy seems out of reach.

"We’re hearing from employers that they will likely start mandating vaccines once we see that approval,” Waltz said.

Waltz said the approval could pick up the pace to get back to normal in the workplace.

“It’s all going to come back to employers really listening to their employees and what they are looking for in terms of feeling safe coming back into the workplace,” Waltz said.

University of Minnesota Law School professor Richard Painter said the number of vaccine mandates is expected to grow.

"No one has the right to not vaccinate themselves, show up at work or at school and infect other people,” Painter said.

He said some schools and universities, such as the University of Minnesota System, are waiting on full FDA approval before rolling out a vaccine mandate.

“The University of Minnesota [vaccine] mandate does assume there’s going to be final approval of these drugs and it’s premised on the approval of these drugs by the FDA,” he said.

Painter said workplaces and schools don’t need FDA full approval to require a vaccine, but the stamp of approval could give them an extra push to make it a mandate.

“Certainly school, districts and employers are well within their rights to say that if you want to show up in person, you need to be vaccinated,” Painter said.

Next week, Pfizer is expected to finish submitting data that concludes the third shot is safe and effective.