The Skeptical Cardiologist

Covid-19 Vaccination Mandates: SSM, the Delta Variant, and the FDA

The skeptical cardiologist mentioned in his previous post on myocarditis and COVID-19 that one argument being used by the vaccine-hesitant is the lack of a full, non-emergency FDA approval of the vaccine.

Eric Topol has written a NY Times editorial, summarized in this tweetorial which calls on the FDA to give full approval to the mRNA vaccines to help combat these anti-vax arguments.


COVID-19 cases have risen by 10% in the last week primarily due to an increase in the number of delta variant cases in poorly vaccinated states.

Topol believes that if the FDA grants full licensure we will see much higher rates of vaccination

Earlier in June, Saint Louis University had mandated that all its staff, faculty, students, and employees be vaccinated.

Interestingly, on June 28 I was sent an email from the Chief Medical Officer and the COO of SSM Health, the organization that controls my employer, SLUcare and Saint Louis University Hospital, mandating employee vaccination:

SSM Health will require all employees, physicians, providers and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Leaders (supervisors and above) must receive their first dose of the vaccine by July 31, and all other team members by Sept. 1. Individuals will then receive their second dose (if applicable) based on current protocol – Pfizer 21 days following the first dose and Moderna 28 days following the first dose. Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is just one dose. Consistent with our practice for other required vaccines, team members can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

SSM Health is a big employer in my neck of the woods:

SSM Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through a robust and fully integrated health care delivery system. The organization’s nearly 40,000 employees and 11,000 providers are committed to providing exceptional health care services and revealing God’s healing presence to everyone they serve.

With care delivery sites in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, SSM Health includes 23 hospitals, more than 290 physician offices and other outpatient and virtual care services, 10 post-acute facilities, comprehensive home care an

Hopefully, the FDA will accelerate granting full authorization for the mRNA vaccines and more health care organizations will mandate vaccination. The higher we can get the vaccination rate, the greater our chances of avoiding a COVID-19 resurgence led by the delta variant that could result in us all having to go back to lock-down, wear masks indoors and stop traveling.

Skeptically Yours,


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