Are vaccine-makers Moderna and Pfizer not mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for their employees? No, that's not true: Since August 2021, Moderna and Pfizer have had COVID vaccine requirements in place for their U.S. workers. Medical and religious accommodations are available on an individual basis. The Pfizer mandate also extends to its contractors.
The claims appeared in multiple social media posts including this one published on Twitter by Aaron Kheriaty, MD on January 27, 2022, before it was deleted. It opened:
Moderna is not mandating the vaccine for their employees.
This is what the post looked like on Twitter on January 27, 2022:
(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Thu Jan 27 22:48:36 2022 UTC)
Kheriaty, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and director of the medical ethics program at UCI Health, lost his job in December 2021 for refusing the vaccine. He sued the university over its COVID vaccine mandate, claiming natural immunity.
(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Fri Jan 28 17:33:50 2022 UTC)
(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Fri Jan 28 17:35:40 2022 UTC)
While it is true that Congress has no vaccine mandate, both Moderna and Pfizer announced vaccine requirements in August 2021. This is what Moderna's statement said:
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for All Workers in the U.S.
August 20, 2021
Moderna will require COVID-19 vaccination for all workers in the United States, effective October 1, 2021. Requests for medical or religious exemptions will be considered on an individual basis. All Moderna workers are still required to follow local health authority and Moderna health and safety protocols when on-site.
In alignment with public health strategies designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Company previously implemented heightened guidelines, including mask wearing, as well as COVID-19 testing to help ensure the safety of its workers and business continuation. The Company also made its COVID-19 vaccine available to its workers in the U.S. under Emergency Use Authorization starting in December 2020.
In a January 28, 2022, email to Lead Stories, Pfizer reiterated its stance from August 2021:
Confirming Pfizer's mandate requires all U.S. colleagues and contractors to be fully vaccinated, unless approved for a medical or religious accommodation from vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get a COVID vaccine to help protect against COVID.