As the pandemic enters its tenth month, employers have had to adjust to significant interruptions to the workplace and the new mandates under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and other state law protection to individuals and families impacted by the virus. Now that several pharmaceutical companies are about to rollout COVID-19 vaccines, employers are facing a new dilemma – whether private employers can mandate employees get vaccinated and, if so, should they do so?
Although it is questionable whether the federal government has the authority to mandate vaccines, President Elect Joe Biden has stated that he does not intend to make vaccinations mandatory, preferring to implement programs to encourage voluntary vaccinations. Dr. Anthony Fauci has likewise expressed his objection to compulsory mandates. On the other hand, mandatory vaccinations can be imposed on the state level but to date states have not expressed a firm intention to go this route. As with influenza, the CDC recommends individuals get the COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available, especially healthcare workers, but does not issue any mandates to the healthcare systems.
According to the Pew Research Center, four out of ten Americans indicate that they would likely not opt for vaccination due to concerns over the unprecedented speed of the vaccine’s development and its untested long term safety record.