Photo: ABC News

The Food and Drug Administration fully approves the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine for all people 16 and older.

The Pentagon, CVS pharmacy chain, the State University of New York and University of Minnesota systems, universities such as Louisiana State, the New York City school system, the New Jersey state employee system, and other bodies immediately said they will carry out vaccination mandates.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had already issued the mandate, with guidelines soon sent to 1.4 million personnel.

“These efforts ensure the safety of our service members,” Kirby said.

More than one million personnel and more than 300,000 civilian employees have already been inoculated.

In late July, President Joe Biden mandated that all federal employees and on-site contractors are vaccinated, or submit to regular testing and accept restrictions such as limits on job-related travel. He said on Monday to corporate, state and local leaders, “Do what I did last month. Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.”

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More than 92 million people have been fully vaccinated since December with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the Acting FDA Commissioner, said at the press conference:

This is a pivotal moment for our country in the fight against the pandemic. The public can be confident that this vaccine meets the F.D.A.’s gold standard for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality that we require for an approved product.

Pfizer provided the FDA with data from 44,000 clinical trial participants, half of whom received the vaccine and half a placebo, in the US, the European Union, Turkey, South Africa, and South America. The FDA said the trials showed a 91% efficacy rate.

Amid the spread of the Delta Variant and vaccine refusal by some Americans, US cases have spiked to a 7-day average of 149,841 per day, compared to 11,133 on June 20. On Monday, 260,656 infections were reported.

The 7-day average for daily deaths is 1,057, compared to 188 on July 7. The toll for the pandemic is more than 630,000 fatalities and more than 38 million cases.

About 52% of Americans have been fully vaccinated.

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