The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel released a statement regarding the legality of vaccine mandates. According to the counsel, current laws do “not prohibit public or private entities from imposing vaccination requirements for a vaccine that is subject to an emergency use authorization.”
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not fully authorized any of the COVID-19 vaccines, however, this does not prevent vaccination requirement policies.
“As access to the COVID-19 vaccines has become widespread, numerous educational institutions, employers, and other entities across the United States have announced that they will require individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, enrollment, participation, or some other benefit, service, relationship, or access.”
The legal counsel concluded mandating the vaccine is not unconstitutional because individuals maintain bodily autonomy. Vaccine mandates do not interfere with “an individual’s right to refuse in that context. Rather, they impose secondary consequences—often in the form of exclusion from certain desirable activities, such as schools or employment—in the event of refusal.”
The lack of full FDA authorization and unknown long-term side effects has increased vaccine hesitancy as mandates are implemented. For instance, New York City is requiring all city employees to fully vaccinate or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: PEWTRUSTS.ORG
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