Pharmacy technician Hollie Maloney loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine., in March. The United States gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

Pharmacy technician Hollie Maloney loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine., in March. The United States gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Coronavirus Roundup: FDA Grants First Full Approval for COVID-19 Vaccine; Pentagon Announces Vaccine Mandate

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

The Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine full approval on Monday, making it the first coronavirus vaccine to receive that designation. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, in a statement. The full approval could also lead to more public and private institutions implementing vaccine mandates. Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed. 

Following the FDA’s announcement, the Pentagon will now require all troops to be vaccinated. Right now, they are focused on the Pfizer vaccine and are working on guidance, said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, during a briefing. 

The Defense Department inspector general announced on Monday it plans to look at the challenges medical personnel at military treatment facilities faced during the pandemic. 

A chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees that represents Federal Bureau of Prisons staff in Miami is picketing outside a federal detention center on Monday to protest “unsafe working conditions stemming from an outbreak of COVID-19 infections among inmates, a rise in inmate assaults on employees, and chronic understaffing of the administrative security facility,” said a press release. “These conditions endanger the lives of inmates, prison employees and the general community.” Correctional officers and other staff members are expected to attend. 

Following the Biden administration’s vaccine attestation and testing requirements for federal employees, AFGE sent out a template on Friday that members can use as they develop any collective bargaining proposals. “We've also outlined our take-aways from the administration's COVID-19 Q & A resource released this week,” said the email, obtained by Government Executive. 

The Homeland Security Department is extending non-essential travel restrictions to Canada and Mexico through September 21 in order to minimize the spread of the Delta variant, the agency tweeted on Friday. ​​

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it,” the Food and Drug Administration tweeted on Saturday, in an effort to prevent people from taking the drug ivermectin to treat the coronavirus. “Ivermectin is often used in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals,” said a post from the agency. “The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses.” 

The Washington Post published a deep dive on Saturday about how the Biden administration rushed to respond to the surge of the Delta variant over the course of four weeks in July. By the end of the week of July 23, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients “and his team had concluded that a new approach was needed — one that would prod the unvaccinated and call out leaders whom the White House saw as blocking progress,” said the report. “On Friday, July 23, Zients — along with other top health officials — met with Biden to pitch the new strategy, which would include the mandates for [Veterans Affairs] health-care workers, creating inconveniences and restrictions for unvaccinated federal workers, and urging the military to mandate the vaccine.” 


  • President Biden will give remarks at 1:30 p.m. on the coronavirus response and vaccination efforts.
  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will give a briefing at 2 p.m. 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at