Press release from Pardee UNC Health Care:
Hendersonville, N.C. – Pardee UNC Health Care today announced that in light of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for persons 16 years of age or older, all employees will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The new requirement gives employees until November 12 to comply or submit their request for a medical or religious exemption.
“We consulted with our clinical and Medical Staff leadership, reviewed the FDA approval and factored in the growing number of cases impacting our hospital to reach the conclusion that it is in the best interest of our organization and our community to require vaccines for all employees,” said James M. Kirby, II, president and CEO of Pardee UNC Health Care. Kirby goes on to note that today’s decision by the Food and Drug Administration is a significant milestone in the fight against COVID-19 and hopes that the decision will instill confidence in the community regarding vaccine safety.
“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was studied in 44,000 people and demonstrated 91% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 disease,” said Adriene Giddens, PharmD, MS, director of pharmacy for Pardee UNC Health Care. “Many drugs approved for use in the US are studied in as few as 2,000 people; this demonstrates that Pfizer-BioNTech did not take shortcuts when collecting safety and efficacy data.” Giddens adds that “at this time, more than 92 million US residents have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and 6-month safety data is limited to immediate post-injection side effects. The full study process was followed and was able to be achieved in such a short time because of the resources made available to address the public health crisis.”
“We are optimistic that with FDA approval, the community and any of our team members who were hesitating to receive the vaccine, will do so now,” said Pardee’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Ellis. “This formal approval really is significant. It represents one more tool for us in this ongoing fight against COVID-19.”