Could Employers Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination?
While private companies in the United States are legally permitted to require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 once it's made available, it's unlikely that they will.
Six health law experts interviewed by Reuters said the law permits private American businesses to put in place health and safety standards, such as one that will make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment. This comes after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced in May that American employers are permitted to not allow employees to return to work before they got tested for COVID-19.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has previously stated that employers can mandate vaccines. However, when Reuters requested comment on the situation as it pertains to the COVID-19 vaccine, OSHA referred the news agency to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which itself opted not to respond.
Just because employers have the legal right to make vaccination mandatory, doesn't mean they should just yet. Robert Field, a professor of law and public health at Drexel University in Philadelphia told Reuters that employers should at least wait until COVID-19 vaccines have undergone a full regulatory review before even mulling a mandate. That's because there is no precedent for vaccines being mandated during an emergency use authorization, which is what the vaccines currently have.
Peter Meyers, a law professor at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., said American businesses are unlikely to mandate vaccination because of the current political climate and the fact that Americans don't typically take well to mandates.
Some companies, such as Ford Motor Company and Kellogg Company, have said they will make and are attempting to make, COVID-19 vaccines available to employees, respectively. Both said the vaccination would be voluntary.
For more on what Reuters discovered, click here.
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