Murphy hopes (and thinks) full FDA approval will lead to more companies mandating vaccination

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to give full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday — a step above Emergency Use Authorization — has elected officials hoping it will entice more vaccine holdouts to get the shot.

Gov. Phil Murphy said he thinks it will do more than that. He feels it will enable an increasing number of New Jersey businesses to begin requiring vaccines in the coming months.

Murphy was asked during a coronavirus briefing Monday whether he thought more businesses were moving in that direction.

“The answer’s, ‘Yes,’ almost certainly, and you’re seeing it every day,” he said. “You’re seeing that in the business community, and you’re seeing a whole lot of slowing down the back-to-work, back-into-the-office reality. So, those are two trends I think you’re seeing, without question, in the business community.”

Responsibility for ensuring that the population gets vaccinated seemingly has shifted more toward the private sector in recent months, as government leaders have urged companies to require employees and patrons to show proof of vaccination.

The idea certainly has support from government.

President Joe Biden called on companies to “step up with vaccine requirements” during a news conference Monday following the FDA’s announcement.

“Do what I did last month,” Biden said. “Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.”

Murphy and the state cannot mandate vaccines for employees of private companies. On Monday, the governor did all of what he can do. He signed an executive order saying all personnel serving students in preschool through 12th grade need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or submit to, at minimum, one or two weekly COVID-19 tests.

Murphy said the same vaccination policy is now in place for all state employees, as well — including those at all state agencies, authorities and public colleges and universities — whether they be full- or part-time, or contract employees.

Almost every health care organization in the state already has mandated that their employees be vaccinated.