ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Beginning September 13th, Anne Arundel County government workers will have to be vaccinated or face weekly testing for COVID-19.
The FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine may allow businesses to follow suit.
“It is a game changer that a lot of businesses and organizations have been waiting for approval to put in place their vaccine mandates for staff, and I think that’s where the game change occurs,” said Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman.
Asked if he would now toughen the county’s mandate forcing its employees to get vaccinated with no option for alternative testing, County Executive Steuart Pittman explained why he would not go that far.
“We didn’t want to lose staff who wouldn’t get vaccinated for any reason,” said Pittman. “We have departments where we can’t afford to lose people right now. We don’t want to cost ourselves services…important services.”
So for now, short of any further restrictions, the county will hope that the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine gives the 20 percent of its adults who have not gotten shots more confidence in its safety to do so.
“The COVID vaccine is more effective than the flu vaccines that we get every year, which do a great job of protecting us,” said Kalyanaraman. “and so if you’ve been on the fence about getting the vaccine and you’ve been waiting for FDA approval, it’s come now so please come get your shot.”
County leaders also hope the FDA’s action leaves more businesses feeling empowered to require that their customers be vaccinated or risk being turned away at the door.