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Virus Experts Predict What Will Happen Next

The full approval may lead to mandates and more.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Today, the FDA gave "full approval" to the Pfizer vaccine—a step up from the emergency approval it did have. "This is really good news," Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, told CBS This Morning. "If it comes through, I actually think it's gonna end up making a pretty big difference. I mean, for some people, the emergency use has been a barrier to getting vaccinated and for a lot of companies and businesses and schools, they have been waiting for this full approval before mandating vaccine. So I think it's going to set off a whole new wave of vaccinations, which I think will be very helpful given where we are as a country." Read on for 5 things that may happen next, according to virus experts—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Virus Expert Predicts More People Will Get the Vaccine Now That it Has Full Approval

Doctor Giving Older Woman Corona Virus Vaccine Injection In Hospital

Will the full approval spark some people to get vaccinated? "I'll make a difference for some of them, clearly, having full approval will increase the likelihood," said Dr. Paul Sax, "that where people work they're going to need to get vaccinated. Vaccine mandates do have an impact, especially people who are on the fence. The other thing is that we might see: additional safety data, in particular about manufacturing and distribution. Those are things that could reassure people that the vaccines really are safe. I mean, we do have enormous safety data already. I don't want people to think that this was lacking, but getting the full approval does provide that additional layer of security." "I think it'll help some portion of people, maybe five or 10% of the population I think is holding out for this," predicted Jha. 


Virus Expert Predicts Vaccine Mandates at Companies and Universities

people with face masks back at work or school in office after lockdown

"I think a lot of big businesses are waiting and with this full approval, they'll feel a lot more comfortable asking their employees to get vaccinated," said Jha. You may now be required to get a vaccine before returning to work, just like employees at United Airlines or Walmart, which requires all of its corporate and regional staff to be vaccinated. "Vaccine mandates at work: It's one thing to say, 'Eh, I don't feel like getting the shot,' but when your boss says, 'Do you, okay, well, you don't have a job anymore.' That may make you roll up your sleeves," says Sax, the Clinical Director, Infectious Disease Clinic Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Why such a strict mandate? "The hope is that the mandates are really going to be the thing that turns this around," he says. Universities, schools and other places may institute mandates as well.

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Virus Expert Predicts Cases Will Plateau in the South, with a Big "But"

Patient in ambulance with paramedics, wearing face masks

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA, says on Face the Nation that the data is "showing across the South right now, the RT, the rate of transmission is below one, which means you have a contracting epidemic across the south, though there are still very hard weeks ahead because they're still going to continue to accrue more hospitalizations and there's extreme pressure on those healthcare systems. But there is evidence that the epidemic is starting to slow and that day over day cases are starting to decline. And that's showing up in the natural national trends now Florida, which has been the epicenter of the epidemic in this country. If you look across different age categories in Florida, every age category shows the declining number of cases day over day, except for school aged kids, kids ages six to 19. That's the only category that's still expanding and expanding very quickly because what's happening is, they're opening schools earlier in the South schools open earlier in the South against the backdrop of still a lot of prevalence and the infection's getting into schools and it's proving to be hard to control the schools."

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Virus Experts Predict a Rise in Kids Getting Sick

Little girl is sick using oxygen mask on her face laying in bed at hospital.

Hospitalizations of kids are rising, as Gottlieb said. Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General, said it "is really heartbreaking to see what's happening with our hospitals, filling up with children. We have more kids hospitalized now than we have in earlier points in the pandemic. And you know, as a parent of two young children who are too young to be eligible for vaccination, I  really feel for parents out there whose kids are ill. And I really feel strongly that it is our moral responsibility as a society to do everything we can to protect our children. And that means that number one, all of us getting vaccinated as adults," including adolescents, it "is important because kids who are too young to get back, they rely on those around them to shield them from the virus. But it's also why making sure we are taking every measure possible in schools to ensure that our kids are safe is so important. And those include masks, improving ventilation, doing regular testing and ensuring that our children are outdoors as much as possible. So these are the steps that we've got to take. We have a responsibility to protect our kids, and I can't think of anything more important than that."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek