On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the long-awaited announcement that it was granting full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. That move now has implications in Texas, where Governor Abbott had previously issued an executive order banning vaccine mandates which only applied to vaccines that were under emergency use authorization.
Before Monday, the Pfizer vaccine shot (as well as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) was under emergency use authorization. The emergency use authorization allowed the FDA to administer the vaccines during a public health emergency.
The new directive from the FDA marks a new era for COVID-19 vaccines according to FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock. “While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” she said in a statement.
Just before the announcement from the FDA, Attorney General Paxton was gloating about suing the San Antonio Independent School District for mandating vaccines for school employees. “The law states that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine under an emergency use authorization is always voluntary in Texas and will never be mandated by the government,” wrote Paxton.
Abbott has yet to indicate if he will re-issue his executive order, also known as GA-38, to ban mandates for vaccines that have received full FDA authorization. Last week, Abbott tested positive for COVID-19 and his office revealed he was receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment.
After the announcement from the FDA about Pfizer’s full approval, the Pentagon declared that it would be requiring all active duty service members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
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