On Tuesday, the Department of Justice concluded that federal law doesn’t prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring employees receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccines have yet to gain full approval from the FDA but so far multiple major government agencies have announced they would require some or all of their employees to get vaccinated or be tested weekly.
Fox News reports:
“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,” DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel wrote in an opinion. “For instance, certain schools will require vaccination in order for students to attend class in person, and certain employers will require vaccination as a condition of employment.”
The opinion notes that some have questioned whether such entities can lawfully impose such requirements.
In the opinion, the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel says the law concerning emergency use authorizations (EUAs) “does not prohibit public or private entities from imposing vaccine requirements, even when the only vaccines available are those authorized under EUAs.”
The VA became the first agency in the federal government to announce that it will require patient-facing employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The news comes after reports broke the CDC is expected to walk back its initial guidance telling vaccinated individuals they don’t need masks indoors. The CDC is expected to release new guidelines that recommend some fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in some settings but so far specific details have yet to be released.