Future Tense

“The Clock Starts Ticking Today”

The FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine triggered a whole bunch of vaccine mandates.

Signs offering COVID-19 vaccinations outside of a CVS pharmacy in Washington, DC.
After FDA fully approved Pfizer COVID vaccine, CVS and many other companies have mandated their employees to get vaccinated. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

After The Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, Joe Biden implored rule-makers to mandate shots. “If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that,” said president Biden. While vaccine mandates were allowed prior to the approval, the official stamp of FDA approvals—along with surging cases—has led many experts and news outlets to note that we should start seeing more and more mandates.


Indeed, many companies and local governments announced them this week. Which workers and customers are now required to get their shots, or leave? We’ve rounded up as many of the new mandates as we could find.

Military personnel


A timeline for when service members have to get vaccinated will appear in the coming days, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Monday. As of Wednesday, no specific dates have been mentioned, but according to The Associated Press, troops are expected to receive shots “in weeks not months”. In total, more than 1.3 million troops are expected to get vaccinated. Those who won’t follow the requirement might face “administrative and disciplinary repercussions,” said Kirby.

Walt Disney World employees

Walt Disney corporation reached a deal with Service Trades Council Union, which represents approximately 43,000 Disney Cast Members on Monday, according to which  union workers at Disney World in Florida should be fully vaccinated by Oct. 22. The rule will impact employees, working in hotels, shops, attractions, and food and beverage. Anyone who won`t agree to get a shot will lose their job. (Disney had already required its non-union workers to get a vaccine by the end of September.)


United Airlines staff

On Aug. 6, the company announced that its employees must be fully vaccinated within 5 weeks of the FDA approval. Those who are not will be fired. United Airlines, which has 67,000 employees, has become the first major U.S. carrier to impose a mandate.


Delta Air Lines employees

The company announced Wednesday that starting on Sept. 30 unvaccinated workers who have to skip work due to testing positive for COVID will no longer have pay protection. Moreover, starting from on Nov. 1, unvaccinated employees will be required to pay an additional $200 per month to stay on the company`s health plan. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company”, said CEO Ed Bastian in a memo, mentioning high cost of treating COVID patients who require hospitalization.


CVS workers

CVS as of Monday requires its corporate staff, as well as nurses and care managers to receive the vaccine by Oct. 31. Pharmacists working in retail stores will have more time—until Nov. 30. New hires are asked to get their first shot before their first day at work.

City of San Francisco employees

In June, the city issued an announcement saying that employees would be given 10 weeks to be fully vaccinated following the FDA approval. “The clock starts ticking today,” said Carol Isen, director of San Francisco’s Department of Human Resources on Monday. She added that the deadline is Nov. 1.

New York state and city university students, New York City teachers


New York City public school principals, teachers, and other staff should get at least one dose of vaccine by Sept. 27, announced New York mayor Bill de Blasio Monday. The decision applies to around 150,000 employees. In July, De Blasio said that all city employees, including teachers, should get vaccinated or start testing for COVID weekly by Sept. 13. But after FDA approval, school staff no longer have an option of testing. Also, on Monday, the State University of New York required students (and strongly encouraged faculty and staff) to get fully vaccinated in 35 days. The same day, the City University of New York mandated students to get inoculated by Sept. 27.


New Jersey teachers and state workers

All public and private school personnel, as well as state employees, including faculty and staff at state colleges and universities need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday. But there’s a loophole, which not all mandates include: those who don’t get vaccinated may instead to get tested for COVID every week.

Oregon teachers and health care workers 

Last week, Governor Kate Brown announced that health care workers and K-12 schools teachers and staff would have 6 weeks after FDA approval to get fully inoculated, which means the requirement will now kick in in October. Also, Eastern Oregon University required students and employees to provide vaccination proof within 60 days of FDA approval—so, starting in November.


Louisiana health workers and university students

Following the FDA approval, Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans announced that they would require their students to get vaccinated. However, they didn’t provide the timeline so far.

Ochsner Health, a hospital system in Louisiana, also urged its employees to get fully inoculated by Oct.29. Those who refuse vaccination will be suspended from work for 30 days until they receive a vaccine. Then, if they still fail to meet the requirement, they will lose their job.

Michigan university students and employees

Oakland University issued a statement Tuesday, saying that students, faculty and staff, planning to attend classes in-person, must get their first shot by Sept. 3, and the second one (for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) by Oct. 1. Before FDA approval, vaccine mandate applied only to students living in residential housing.


Minnesota university students and staff

The University of Minnesota announced Monday that it would require students to receive the vaccine. Details regarding the timing are expected in the coming days. Faculty and staff can either get vaccinated or continue to get tested regularly.

West Virginia hospitals employees

The West Virginia University Health System, the largest private employer in the state, announced  Monday that staff is required to get inoculated by Oct. 31. The policy will impact 20 hospitals and 5 health institutes that are part of the system in West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.


Missouri health workers

CoxHealth, based in Springfield, Missouri, told employees Monday that they should receive their first vaccine dose by Oct.
15. Workers who do not will be placed on two weeks of unpaid leave—and then, if they still haven’t gotten a shot, terminated. “Employees who choose not to be vaccinated and do not have an approved exemption will need to find a job somewhere else,” says the company’s statement.

Employees of various energy companies

Chevron said Monday it will require its offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico and its onshore support personnel to be vaccinated by Nov. 1. Employees traveling internationally must also receive a vaccine—but a deadline has not been provided yet. Another oil producer, Hess Corporation, also mandated its personnel working in the Gulf of Mexico to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.