Mike Magee, CEO of Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education leaders, today released the following statement in response to news that the FDA has granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
Full FDA approval of the Pfizer Covid vaccine further affirms that the shot is safe and effective. Everyone who is eligible and has not yet received the vaccine should do so now—so we can protect ourselves and our loved ones, and so we can safely reopen schools and keep them open. America’s children will not have a successful academic year unless people get their Covid shots. It is just that simple. That is why, for instance, the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), under Superintendent Pedro Martinez, is requiring all staff to get the vaccine and is encouraging all eligible children to do the same.
As has been reported, never before has the FDA had so much evidence to judge a shot’s safety. Scientific and medical experts methodically reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of research and data on clinical vaccine trials involving tens of thousands of individuals. Data showed the vaccine was 91 percent effective at preventing Covid symptoms up to six months after a person received their second shot.
With the Delta variant—spurred in large part by low vaccination rates—ripping through the United States, it is more urgent than ever for people who have not yet gotten their shots to get them now: Doctors say that 99 percent of individuals who recently died of Covid were unvaccinated. Furthermore, the vast majority of patients who are hospitalized with Covid—97 percent—are unvaccinated.
The school superintendents who are members of Chiefs for Change have set up vaccine clinics on their campuses and are partnering with local doctors and other health experts to ensure families have accurate information about the vaccine. While this work is underway, superintendents have also implemented health protocols in schools that have been shown to stop the spread of the virus. State officials must let these district leaders do their jobs and act in the best interest of their local communities. Political posturing and counterproductive lawsuits—such as the one filed against SAISD in an attempt to stop its staff vaccine mandate—threaten the health of students and staff and stand to impede progress at a time when leaders should be working together for the good of our children. I am confident that our chiefs will continue to make decisions in line with the expectations and demands of the families they serve.
With full FDA approval of the Pfizer Covid vaccine, we can have even greater confidence that it is safe and effective. Anyone who has been waiting should get vaccinated now. That is how we will finally end this pandemic.