Update (1100ET): The Pentagon’s press secretary has just confirmed that – as expected – the DoD will now require all troops across the armed services to get the vaccine.
Troops who refuse the vaccine could face “disciplinary” measures, including being dragged in front of a military tribunal that would mete out punishment. Commanders have several options for dealing with troops who refuse mandatory COVID-19 vaccines including issuing them a letter of reprimand or taking other administrative action; using nonjudicial punishment to push them to get vaccinated; referring troops to an administrative separation board for failure to obey an order, or even referring service members to courts-martial, which has already happened in the past when some troops refused to get vaccinated for Anthrax.
BREAKING: Pentagon will now mandate all troops be vaccinated against Covid-19, following the FDA's full approval of the Pfizer shot, says @PentagonPresSec
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) August 23, 2021
“We have every expectation that once the vaccines are made mandatory the troops are going to do the right thing,” Kirby told reporters at a Pentagon news conference a few weeks ago. “But, without speaking to the future, it’s treated, certainly, like any lawful order, and there could be administrative and disciplinary repercussions for failing to obey that order.”
The DoD also make sure that service members who have reservations about getting a COVID-19 vaccine are “properly counseled” about the risks to their personal health and their unit’s readiness that could arise from them refusing the jab, and that commanders have a “range of tools” to pressure troops to comply.
“Commanders have a range of tools, short of using the UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice] available to them to try to help individuals make the right decisions,” Kirby added.
Similar mandates are expected in the private sector as well, with companies like Wal-Mart, along with thousands of smaller businesses, expected to require proof of vaccination for all workers.
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Roughly 8 months after the Pfizer-BioNTech jab was first approved for public use after receiving an unprecedented emergency authorization, the jab has officially become the first to receive full approval by the FDA on Monday, the Washington Post reports.
The news, which was telegraphed days in advance, sent shares of Pfizer and BioNTech surging shortly after the open on Monday.
As the mainstream media immediately pointed out, the approval might prompt some skeptical adults to take the vaccine, while giving businesses the last piece of ammunition they needed to require workers to get the jab, or be fired. According to the CDC, 204MM Pfizer jabs (which will henceforth be known as Comirnaty, the official brand name of the jab) have been doled out since the emergency authorization was first handed down last December.
The vaccine is officially approved for Americans over the age of 16, while the emergency authorization remains in effect for patients between 12 and 15. Notably, the FDA is requiring Pfizer to conduct more research on the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis and other potential side effects. Pfizer will also develop a registry to help monitor outcomes for infants after vaccinated women give birth.
CNBC reports that a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 3 in 10 unvaccinated adults said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if one of the vaccines receives full approval. Full approval is “more psychological than anything else,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a voting member of the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. “I mean you already have more than 320MM doses administered. The vaccines already have an enormous safety and efficacy profile.”
“The FDA will do what it thinks it needs to do to make sure that the American public is safe,” he said.
Initially, full authorization was expected to arrive in September, but the Biden Administration has ramped up the pressure in recent days. Full approval opens the door to several activities that were barred under the emergency authorization: Pfizer can now advertise the jab, and it can now continue to vaccinate people even after the COVID “emergency” is deemed over. Pfizer can also now raise the price of the vaccine. They have already raised the price of the jab in the EU.
Pfizer and BioNTech have both said they intend to generate billions of dollars in revenues (and likely profits) from sales of the jab.
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