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Biden meeting with top business execs to discuss vaccine mandate

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Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani discusses Biden's meetings with the execs of Disney, Walmart and other major firms on vaccine mandates.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, a big meeting full of business executives over at the White House this afternoon. We've got the CEOs of Disney, Walmart, as well as Kaiser Permanente. Many more meeting with President Biden today to discuss his federal vaccine mandate.

For the very latest on that, let's bring in our very own Anjalee Khemlani. And, Anjalee, there's still a lot of questions about what exactly this mandate is going to look like. The rules haven't been drafted yet. Walk me through what to expect this afternoon but really also the timeline to which this is likely to roll out.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Right, Akiko. Well, we know that, of course, that meeting is taking place in order to get some information, basically some insight into how some of these larger companies have rolled out their own rules. We know that some of the companies you mentioned have already implemented either requirements to get vaccinated or, if not-- if their employees are unable to show proof, then they're also asked to get tested.

And so blending those two requirements together is really a part of what the administration is looking at. They're looking to do this under OSHA, which, of course, is under the Department of Labor, and looking to have them create sort of an emergency safety standard. And that is something that they've already done for health-care settings and health workplace settings as well, [? an ?] [? order ?] to require.

Now, there is some concern about these rules. Of course, the president did say it would apply for any company with more than a hundred employees, and there have been some questions about whether or not they will face legal pushback. We know some Republican lawmakers have said that they will as much, and precedent has already been set in terms of what will happen when OSHA does come out with some of these safety standards. So it's going to be interesting to see whether or not that prevails or whether or not the rules can, in fact, go forward.

We know that many experts, as our colleague Alexis Keenan has reported, some law experts have said that because of the testing requirement in lieu of a vaccine requirement could be something that helps it move along.

But, of course, there is some time. The department is still looking at the wording of the requirement and what will take place after that. So still some time to wait.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and Anjalee, the other timeline we've been watching here is when the approval for vaccines in children are going to get approved. We've been talking about maybe a month timeline to look at there. But how is the process proceeding? And we know Pfizer has the lead, but what does it look like in terms of when we'll actually see shots in arms?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, it looks like the studies are sort of concluding. We know that Pfizer has already said, especially in their last earnings call, that they're looking at the end of the month to conclude and then file it by October. That's for the 5- to 11-year-old range and then possibly a little bit after, a month after for less than five years old. And Moderna shouldn't be too far behind as well. We've heard that from some of the health officials.

So it looks like by the end of the year they could meet that sort of school-aged kids getting that. There are reports that FDA officials and other regulatory authorities have looked at possibly a month time span from when they get those filings in order to get to the approval or authorization.

Now looking at Pfizer as well, we know that they are also ready for a big discussion by the end of this week. We just got some-- the first look at the data and the details that are going to be discussed for booster shots or that additional dose. That is on the table, falling in line with what President Biden wants to roll out, which is that September 20 start date for additional shots.

As it stands right now, we're still leaning on Israeli data as well as the UK to look at what is expected in terms of waning efficacy and waning protection of these vaccines. The FDA did acknowledge that it has not independently verified these studies, so it's going to be a really robust discussion, especially as we know the health-care community is largely split on whether or not boosters will, in fact, be needed for the broad population. So it's likely we see some sort of limitation on who should, in fact, be eligible.

But, of course, can't predict anything, and we'll just have to wait until Friday to hear. Back to you guys.

AKIKO FUJITA: Still a lot of questions on that front. Anjalee, appreciate you staying on top of it.