The full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for Covid-19 clears the way for companies and other entities to take a more aggressive approach and mandate that their employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. It also clears the way for the anti-vax crowd to glom on to their new preferred excuse to refuse a life-saving vaccine.
Even before the FDA's full approval of one of the three vaccines approved for emergency use, many businesses and governmental entities had already moved toward mandates or venue restrictions as a way to combat the spread and deadliness of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Two of the largest concert promoters in the nation, AEG Presents and Live Nation Entertainment, recently announced that concert-goers, artists and employees will need to either show proof of vaccination (a vaccine card) or a negative Covid test to gain admission.
With the FDA's full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, more dominoes are also starting to fall. On Tuesday, LSU announced that those ages 12 and older who want to attend games in Tiger Stadium this fall will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of entering the stadium.
LSU's decision is a must if the school wants to still allow 100 percent capacity. The question remains, though, when or if fellow SEC schools will follow suit.
Also on Tuesday, Ohio State announced that vaccine mandate for all of its employees and students, becoming one of the few major colleges to require vaccination.
As of Tuesday, Auburn University still plans on full capacity for the Tigers' season-opener against Akron next Saturday, according to recent statements made by Athletic Director Allen Greene, and it seems unlikely that the university will implement a mandate like Ohio State's.
But not implementing any measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and still permitting full capacity at Jordan-Hare Stadium would be the height of irresponsibility on the part of university leaders and a slap in the face to the health care workers in the Auburn community who are battling the recent surge of Covid-19 in the area.
Prior to the start of the fall semester, Auburn University implemented a mask mandate indoors on its campus. That's a reasonable measure to take with the Delta variant coursing through the community and more severely affecting the younger population than previous strains.
Will Auburn Athletics also require masks in JHS for all attendees? That remains to be seen.
For the anti-vaxxers and vaccine-hesitant, the FDA's full approval of the Pfizer vaccine pulls one more of their excuses off the board.
Health officials are hoping the approval results in an increase in vaccinations. But there are still plenty of excuses to be had, some more absurd than others — that the vaccine makes you magnetic, contains a microchip or that it's somehow the mark of the beast from Revelation are still excuses popping up in many social media discussions. Misinformation of this ilk is easy to ignore. They likely won't be willing to get a vaccine regardless of its approval status.
But misinformation that causes real doubt — like vaccines causing infertility or Covid-19 infection — is dangerous and deadly, and needs to be shot down with facts and the advice of health experts whenever possible.