Nevada, like much of the nation, has been facing a summer surge of the pandemic. But is there light at the end of the tunnel?
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, making it easier for businesses and employers to make vaccinations mandatory.
“Many people were waiting for this approval. I think it's this is significant,” said Wei Yang, professor and associate dean for the UNR School of Public Health. “I think this is gonna be definitely a positive impact.”
Yang said the vaccine approval gives the medical community a leg up in its race against an evolving virus.
“They're changing. They're smarter. They want to survive,” he said. “So we are battling, and we're trying to gain time.”
Professor Johan Bester, an interim assistant dean at UNLV’s Kerkorian School of Medicine, said federal approval could make “a big difference” when it comes to getting more people vaccinated, including mandating vaccinations in some instances.
“There is a public health interest in employing mandates that are well placed and that protect the vulnerable among us,” he told State of Nevada. “This is one of the tools I think that we as a society have to get out of this pandemic and we should use it.”
Bester said concerns about vaccinations eroding individual rights are misplaced, and that it is the pandemic that is depriving many of their freedom.
“It's been clear for a while now that there is a good or strong moral case for getting the vaccine,” he said. “That is the only way out of the pandemic, which is having a significant impact on our liberty, on our well-being as a people, on our health, and our economy.”
He said he agreed with the Las Vegas Raiders and several major trade shows to require vaccines for admission.
"There is a public health interest in employing mandates that are well-placed and that protect the vulnerable among us," Bester said. "This is one of the tools I think that we as a society have to get out of this pandemic and we should use it."
Johan Bester, associate professor and interim assistant dean, UNLV School of Medicine; Wei Yang, professor and associate dean, UNR School of Public Health
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