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Pfizer COVID vaccine expected to get full FDA approval Monday, here's how it could impact your health insurance

A fully approved vaccine means employers can require you to get it, and if you don't, your healthcare costs could increase.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some people claim they haven't gotten the COVID-19 vaccine because it isn't fully approved by the FDA, well that's expected to change soon. The FDA is expected to give full approval to the Pfizer vaccine on Monday. 

Infectious Disease Doctor Manoj Jain and Wade Symons with Mercer said while it would still be your decision to get the COVID vaccine once it’s fully approved, but people who choose not to get vaccinated could experience more limitations in their daily activities. 

"The FDA has done extensive studies on the vaccine and what they have found is one, it's safe, and two it is effective, and it works," Jain said.

Doctor Jain said a fully approved vaccine means employers can require you to get it, and if you don't, your healthcare costs could increase because employers may have to pay more if an unvaccinated employee gets hospitalized from COVID.

According to Symons, more than 20 major employers are waiting for FDA approval to charge their unvaccinated employees $20 -$50 dollars more for their health insurance. He couldn't specify which companies but said it's mainly the industries that can't offer work from options like hospitality, construction, and manufacturing. 

"There's more potential health risk for those who are unvaccinated than those who are vaccinated," Symons said.

Symons adds it's similar to tobacco users paying more for health insurance.

"A tobacco user will usually pay more than a non-tobacco user because of the health risks tobacco creates," Symons said.

With the delta variant quickly spreading in our communities, Jain said the best option is to get vaccinated to avoid these inconveniences. 

"They should very seriously think about getting vaccinated and get themselves and their families protected," Jain said

Jain also said it remains unclear what a fully FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine would mean for approving the vaccine for children under 12.

Here is the @ShelbyTNHealth #COVID19 update for Sunday, August 22, 2021. For more information, please visit https://shelby.community/ for access to the COVID-19 Data page.

Posted by Shelby County Health Department on Sunday, August 22, 2021

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