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Greater Cincinnati health officials say full FDA approval should increase vaccine rates


Health officials in Cincinnati say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine could increase vaccination rates and open the door to employers mandating the vaccine."It's further affirmation that it is safe, that it is effective," said Kate Schroder, Interim Chief Strategy Officer for the Health Collaborative. "There's a lot of folks who have legitimate questions and concerns, and this is one more reassuring step in that process to help ensure folks know that they are safe."Schroder believes that FDA approval will push some who were on the fence to get vaccinated. She said it has bigger implications for employers. "I think for some individuals who are waiting, who are in that wait and see camp, this matters to some of them," she said. "I also think where we really may see a difference is in the number of employers that are willing to consider a vaccine requirement."At a school board meeting Monday evening, Cincinnati Publics Schools board of education discussed the possibility of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for employees.School board member Mike Moroski introduced the conversation and said the board will discuss it further at a policy committee meeting on Thursday morning. "The rising cases are very concerning to me," Moroski said. "None of us want to have to say the word 'virtual' again when we're talking about learning. It does seem that the vaccination is proving to be one of the best ways to help us avoid doing that."Tami Burdick, who lives on the east side of Cincinnati, said FDA approval does not give her any more confidence in the vaccine."I do have a vaccine exclusion from my primary care physician, but even if I did not have that in my possession, I still wouldn't be comfortable with the FDA approval," she said. Renee Mahaffey Harris, the president and CEO of Center for Closing the Health Gap, estimates she has talked with thousands of Cincinnatians in person, virtually or via social media or phone throughout the pandemic. She has spent much of the this year encouraging folks to get vaccinated and answering questions about the vaccines."You know, I haven't heard a lot of people saying that the FDA hadn't approved it until they may have heard someone say it on television, in an interview or on social media," she said. She said she noticed a recent trend in people deciding to get vaccinated to protect their children."I do believe that because of some of the increases that we're seeing and the Delta variant impacting children, I think it's causing families to say you know what, 'I need to protect my child and I need to get the vaccine,'" she said. "If we make it easy for people to get the vaccine, when they are ready, they will get it."Center for Closing the Health Gap will hold a virtual town hall Thursday from 7-8 p.m. Cincinnati doctors will participate, answering questions about the vaccines and variants live. Participants can join via zoom or on The Center for Closing the Health Gap's Facebook page. Details will be available at https://covid19communityresources.com.

Health officials in Cincinnati say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine could increase vaccination rates and open the door to employers mandating the vaccine.

"It's further affirmation that it is safe, that it is effective," said Kate Schroder, Interim Chief Strategy Officer for the Health Collaborative. "There's a lot of folks who have legitimate questions and concerns, and this is one more reassuring step in that process to help ensure folks know that they are safe."

Schroder believes that FDA approval will push some who were on the fence to get vaccinated. She said it has bigger implications for employers.

"I think for some individuals who are waiting, who are in that wait and see camp, this matters to some of them," she said. "I also think where we really may see a difference is in the number of employers that are willing to consider a vaccine requirement."

At a school board meeting Monday evening, Cincinnati Publics Schools board of education discussed the possibility of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for employees.

School board member Mike Moroski introduced the conversation and said the board will discuss it further at a policy committee meeting on Thursday morning.

"The rising cases are very concerning to me," Moroski said. "None of us want to have to say the word 'virtual' again when we're talking about learning. It does seem that the vaccination is proving to be one of the best ways to help us avoid doing that."

Tami Burdick, who lives on the east side of Cincinnati, said FDA approval does not give her any more confidence in the vaccine.

"I do have a vaccine exclusion from my primary care physician, but even if I did not have that in my possession, I still wouldn't be comfortable with the FDA approval," she said.

Renee Mahaffey Harris, the president and CEO of Center for Closing the Health Gap, estimates she has talked with thousands of Cincinnatians in person, virtually or via social media or phone throughout the pandemic. She has spent much of the this year encouraging folks to get vaccinated and answering questions about the vaccines.

"You know, I haven't heard a lot of people saying that the FDA hadn't approved it until they may have heard someone say it on television, in an interview or on social media," she said.

She said she noticed a recent trend in people deciding to get vaccinated to protect their children.

"I do believe that because of some of the increases that we're seeing and the Delta variant impacting children, I think it's causing families to say you know what, 'I need to protect my child and I need to get the vaccine,'" she said. "If we make it easy for people to get the vaccine, when they are ready, they will get it."

Center for Closing the Health Gap will hold a virtual town hall Thursday from 7-8 p.m. Cincinnati doctors will participate, answering questions about the vaccines and variants live. Participants can join via zoom or on The Center for Closing the Health Gap's Facebook page.

Details will be available at https://covid19communityresources.com.


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