Full federal approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will empower businesses and universities to require vaccinations and tip hesitant Americans toward getting the jab, the surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, said on Sunday.
“We already know that there are many businesses and universities that have moved toward vaccine requirements,” Murthy told CNN’s State of the Union. “And I think it’s a very reasonable thing to do to create a safe environment.”
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is trying to finish its licensing process for the lifesaving drug as soon as Monday, the New York Times has reported.
Until now, the Pfizer shot has been administered under an emergency use authorization, though experts continue to emphasize that it is safe and effective.
“We’ve given it to hundreds of millions of people,” Murthy said. “We’ve seen that it’s doing its job. And that’s why we’re continuing to recommend that people get vaccinated starting today and … as soon as they can.”
As the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads, the US is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases. Many southern states are struggling for hospital capacity amid resistance from Republican leaders and the public to vaccinations and mask mandates.
The overwhelming majority of Covid hospitalizations and deaths in the US are among unvaccinated people.