Coronavirus Vaccine Concerns: Can Companies Require Employees to Get Vaccinated?
DALLAS (Nation Now) – There has been a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding the promise of a Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon of several pharmaceutical companies. However, the question remains, can the vaccine be forced by employers, businesses or sites?
Here’s what NewsNation found.
Americans are set to get the green light for the first COVID-19 vaccine. On December 10, the FDA will review Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use. A week later, it’s Moderna’s turn. The CDC and doctors across the country are recommending the double-dose vaccine as your best chance for protection and getting society back to normal.
“It will be a combination of rapid and efficient vaccine deployment, which I am confident we have good plans to do and see good vaccine uptake, which I think is a bigger issue,” said Dr Allison Arwady, Commissioner. of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The last part of this plan, the good adoption, has some people like Chelsea Perez tell not to say so fast.
“This virus is barely a year old, so the fact that we already have a vaccine is exciting but also terrifying,” Perez said.
Perez works in Oklahoma City, and she is worried about the unknowns of such a new virus and whether employers might force their employees to get vaccinated.
“I think we could highly recommend or highly recommend that particular groups of people get it,” Perez said. “But, until we know the real effects of it, I don’t know if it’s the best idea to force someone to get one.”
Will it be legal for your employer to require vaccination? University of California law professor Dorit Reiss, who has spoken out on legal issues surrounding vaccines since 2013, says the short answer is yes.
“Employment in the United States is generally ‘at will’,” Reiss said. “Your employer can fire you for just about any reason. They don’t like your shirt? They can fire you.
Reiss said employers in the United States have a lot of leeway to impose workplace rules. Two major exceptions come into play, however. Americans can refuse vaccines because of a disability or for religious reasons – both are protected by law. Reiss also said that outside of these exceptions, business owners will be legally allowed to deny service or employment to anyone who is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“You have rights which include not allowing people you don’t want on your premises and not serving people you don’t want,” Reiss said. “And your rights are as protected by our Constitution as the rights of others.”
On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry released the first images of what the COVID-19 vaccination record will look like. This is proof of vaccination that Americans will need to keep in their wallet as part of Operation Warp Speed. Reiss said it would be legal for employers, businesses or places to ask, but it wouldn’t be practical.
There are certainly a lot of legal gray areas surrounding the vaccination conversation. Professor Reiss told NewsNation that there is also legal uncertainty as to whether the warrants would be legal when a vaccine is permitted for emergency use. She said it was also too early to say what schools would decide to do without a clinical trial being completed in children.