FDA's full approval of Pfizer could pave way for new vaccine mandates in CA, experts say

SAN FRANCISCO -- The FDA granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday for people 16 and older, paving the way for additional vaccine mandates. Experts wonder will California be next?

"As a physician, I think we have to mandate the vaccine," said Dr. Mike Wasserman, who sat on California's vaccine advisory committee.

RELATED: FDA gives full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

"People who don't get vaccinated and then go out without masks are no different than drunk drivers," Dr. Wasserman says.

San Francisco was the state's first major metropolitan city to mandate vaccines to enter certain businesses like restaurants, bars, and gyms serving food and drinks.

The city's chamber of commerce told our sister station KGO-TV that businesses not included in the mandate have now indicated they require vaccines regardless following the FDA's announcement.

"I know a lot of businesses and organizations were just waiting for this to happen," said Stanford Infectious Disease Physician Yvonne Maldonado. "This really just gives us the confidence we've been feeling all along."

RELATED: Valley health officials hope for more vaccinations after FDA approves Pfizer

"I've heard from some folks who were waiting until 'full approval' from the FDA to get a COVID vaccine. Well today that happened with the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments are widely available and you can go get your shot today!" San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted.



Experts say Pfizer's announcement is opening the door for companies, universities, and more businesses to require vaccinations.

UCSF's Infectious Disease Physician, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, says the state now has a big opportunity to implement stricter guidelines.

"I think given the federal stamp of approval with careful review of safety and efficacy it will give confidence to put this on a wider scale, to scale it up so to speak. Beyond a county requirement," Chin-Hong said. "I think a mandate working with the FDA approval will get us in the right direction."

RELATED: Why you shouldn't rush to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot before it's your turn

KGO-TV reached out to the state to get further clarification on whether a statewide vaccine mandate or any additional vaccine requirements may be implemented moving forward, but we are still waiting to hear back.

Dr. Maldonado says even with this renewed level of confidence there will always be an ongoing review of each vaccine. She says full approval for Moderna will likely be next as clinical trials are wrapping up.

"I think they're just a little behind because they started their trials later," she said.

It's important to note, Pfizer is still under Emergency Use for 12 to 15-year-olds.

"I would urge people not to give the vaccine to children under 12 for whom they are not indicated, it's likely the doses will be much lower," she said. "We don't want children getting a vaccine off label, it may create more fevers or immediate side effects."

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