covid-19 vaccine

Parkland Hospital to Require COVID-19 Vaccines After FDA Approval

Full FDA approval for Pfizer vaccine could come in September

Once the COVID-19 vaccines receive full approval from the FDA, Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas plans on mandating them for all employees.

Many hospital groups across the state have already mandated the vaccine for all employees including Baylor Scott & White HealthMethodist Health, and Texas Health Resources. Earlier Wednesday, Children's Health in Dallas and Cook Children's in Fort Worth said they, too, were requiring all employees to be vaccinated.

Parkland would likely follow suit, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order says no governmental entity can require anyone to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that’s approved under an emergency use authorization. Parkland is a county-funded hospital and all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in the U.S. fall under that emergency use category.

So for now, the mandate at Parkland is on hold. However, once the vaccines are approved by the FDA, which could come as early as next month for the Pfizer vaccine, Parkland said they'll be mandated for all employees.

In the short term, Parkland said, "employees will either have to be vaccinated or undergo frequent COVID testing. But once the COVID vaccines receive full approval from the FDA and are no longer being administered under an emergency use authorization, the vaccine will be mandatory for Parkland employees."

Parkland said the vaccines are a necessary step in protecting the hospital's "complex patient population who, due to their socio-economic status, often have no choice in where they receive care."

During a media briefing Wednesday afternoon, the Texas Department of State Health Services said cases of the virus and hospitalizations of infected people are surging across the state and that vaccines remain the single-best tool available to prevent being infected by COVID-19.

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