Lawyers with the Department of Justice say that federal law does not stop public agencies or private businesses from establishing COVID-19 vaccine mandates under the Food and Drug Administrations’ (FDA) emergency use authorization.
“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 Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel wrote in an opinion posted online Monday. “For instance, certain schools will require vaccination as a condition of employment.”
In the opinion, the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel also notes that under emergency use authorizations (EUAs), no law can prohibit “public or private entities from imposing vaccine requirements, even when the only vaccines available are those authorized under EUAs.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued updated guidance in May saying that employers may require their employees to get vaccinated as long as they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights Act and other EEO considerations.
Last week, during a White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that every White House official had been offered a COVID-19 vaccine, but clarified Friday that the White House was not requiring officials to be vaccinated.
On Monday, both California and New York City announced that government workers would have to get vaccinated or be tested weekly for COVID-19.
The Department of Veteran Affairs announced that health care employees would have eight weeks to be fully vaccinated.
The FDA has not fully approved Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Our World In Data, 49% of United States citizens are fully vaccinated.
It has been reported that President Biden is set to announce on Thursday that all federal employees and contractors would be required to receive a vaccine or undergo frequent testing for COVID-19.