By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Following the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, CBS4’s Jim DeFede spoke to Dr. Bechara Choucair, the White House Vaccination Coordinator who called this “an important moment.”

“This is an important moment where we know that there are a lot of people who are unvaccinated yet are undecided on getting vaccinated,” Choucair said. “They’ve been waiting for the FDA to issue its full authorization of the vaccine. And if you’ve been waiting for that moment, now is the time to get vaccinated.”

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Asked about the President calling on private businesses and local governments to require its workforce get vaccinated, Choucair said: “We truly believe that employers, whether it’s state government, local government, private businesses, universities, colleges, community colleges, we all have a role to play when it comes to vaccinations. We are leading by example from the federal government. That’s why you see us mandating the vaccines at the VA hospitals for the workforce. There you see us that you see the DOD planning to add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of required vaccines. You see the President announcing that CMS will soon be asking nursing homes to require vaccines for its workforce. So we’re doing everything we can. And we know employers at a local level, at a national level, have a role to play there.”

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Regarding the criticism by some that it impinges on a person’s freedom, Choucair said: “Well, here’s how I look at it. You have more than 50 medical organizations in this country that came together and said that requiring vaccines for the health care workforce is the right thing to do. We know from a safety perspective, we know from that to protect people, to protect families, to protect communities, to protect our coworkers. This is one of the tools in our toolbox.”

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Asked if there was a distrust of government that led to vaccine hesitancy, he said: “The way I look at it is there’s no just one reason why there are still some people who are hesitant about the vaccine. We know for some people, for a lot of people, they still have questions about the vaccines. And those are legitimate questions. And we have to do everything we can to get the answers and get them facts. Unfortunately, we have so much misinformation out there. And I have no doubt when we fight this misinformation with information, with facts, when we have these conversations with people, they will be more inclined to getting vaccinated.” Team