FDA Approval Doesn't Change Ducey's Stance On Arizona COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 5:15pm
Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2021 - 8:03am
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey still doesn’t want COVID-19 vaccines to be mandatory for college students, even though Pfizer’s vaccine now has formal authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA last week granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older. Since December, the vaccine has been available under emergency use authorization from the FDA. 

Arizona’s public universities have long required students to have the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to enroll. Arizona State University in June told students they would be expected to get a COVID-19 vaccine or participate in regular screenings for the virus when they returned to campus. Ducey quickly issued an executive order to block the policy. At that time, Ducey’s spokesperson, C.J. Karamargin, told Capitol Media Services that FDA approval was the key difference between COVID-19 vaccines and the MMR. 

"Those vaccines are part of a schedule of vaccines that have gone through the full FDA approval process. The COVID vaccines have not," Karamargin said at the time. 

But now that one COVID-19 vaccine does have that approval, Karamargin told KJZZ on Tuesday that Ducey still doesn’t want the fully-approved shots to be required.

"The situation is not static," Karamargin said. 

Karamargin pointed out the state Legislature has now acted to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates at public universities and most K-12 schools statewide. 

Arizona's COVID-19 vaccination rate remains below the national average. Karamargin said the governor wants Arizonans to get inoculated against COVID-19 and said he hopes the FDA's move to fully approve the Pfizer vaccine will reassure those who haven't been vaccinated that the shots are effective and safe. But Karamargin said the governor does not support mandates for this particular vaccine. 

"The governor's position is very clear," Karamargin said.

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