Fact Check: Moderna IS Mandating COVID Vaccine For Its Employees -- So Is Pfizer

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Moderna IS Mandating COVID Vaccine For Its Employees -- So Is Pfizer Shots Required

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:

Doctor K.png

(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.

Another claim appeared in this post (archived here) on Twitter by Mike on January 27, 2022.

Mike Tweet.png

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Fri Jan 28 17:33:50 2022 UTC)

A third claim appeared in this post (archived here) on Twitter by Terra Incognito on January 27, 2022.

Terra Tweet.png

(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.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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