Following on the heels of the full Food and Drug Administration approval on Monday of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, CVS Health announced that it is requiring vaccines for certain patient-facing employees and its corporate workers.
The company will require certain employees who interact with patients — including pharmacists, nurses and care managers — to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 31. The company will also require all corporate staff to be fully vaccinated no later than Oct. 31.
New hires in the same roles as of Sept.15 must have received their first COVID-19 vaccine prior to their first day of employment. The company said pharmacists will have until Nov. 30 to be fully vaccinated because of the size of CVS Health's pharmacist workforce. Other roles at CVS Health are under review and may be added based on updated data and public health guidance
[Read more: FDA approves first COVID-19 vaccine]
“From the start of the pandemic, our decision-making process has been driven by health, safety and science,” said CVS Health president and CEO Karen Lynch. “While the vast majority of our employees have chosen to be vaccinated, this decision is in direct response to the dramatic rise in cases among the unvaccinated.”
CVS is the first chain to mandate vaccinations among customer-facing workers. Earlier this month, Walgreens revived its store employee mask mandate and required that its support office staff would need to be fully vaccinated or enrolled in a COVID-19 testing program.
About 27% of Dow companies had mandated COVID-19 vaccines to all or some of their employees, Barron’s reported last week.
The full FDA approval has encouraged many private employers to join them after waiting until the full FDA licensure and to keep vaccine-hesitant employees in the workforce. Goldman Sachs has reportedly required its employees to get vaccinated before Sept. 7.
At a briefing on Tuesday, White House COVID officials urged private employers to issue vaccine mandates as the administration resorts to vaccinations amid a resurgence of the pandemic across the country.
“If you’re a business, a nonprofit, a state or local leader who has been waiting for full and final FDA approval before you put vaccination requirements in place, now is the time,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeffrey Zients said at the briefing. “You have the power to protect your communities and help end the pandemic through vaccination requirements.”
On Monday, soon after the FDA approval, New York City issued COVID-19 vaccine mandates for teachers and staff at state’s public schools. The Pentagon also is planning vaccination requirements for all U.S. service personnel.