Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?
Yes, with some exceptions.
Experts say employers can require employees to take safety measures, including vaccination. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would get fired if you refuse, but you might need to sign a waiver or agree to work under specific conditions to limit any risk you might pose to yourself or others.
“Employers generally have wide scope” to make rules for the workplace, said Dorit Reiss, a law professor who specializes in vaccine policies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. “It’s their business.”
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has allowed companies to mandate the flu and other vaccines, and has also indicated they can require COVID-19 vaccines.
There are exceptions; for example, people can request exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
And even though employers can require vaccinations, there are reasons they might not want to.
Tracking compliance with mandatory vaccination would be an administrative burden, said Michelle S. Strowhiro, an employment adviser and lawyer at McDermott Will & Emery. Employers would also have to manage exemption requests — not to mention legal claims that might arise.
As a result, many employers will likely strongly encourage vaccination without requiring it, Strowhiro said.
- As vaccinations continue across the U.S., some companies are offering financial incentives to encourage their workers to get the shots.
- Henrico County Public Schools announced plans to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to staff next week
- Richmond City Councilwoman voices hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccine, health experts address skepticism in U.S.Richmond City Councilwoman Ann-Frances Lambert is receiving some backlash online after she tweeted about her hesitancy to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Hanover County announced it has plans to create and expand new COVID-19 clinics as Central Virginia prepares to enter Phase 1b.
- It won't be long before Richmond Public Schools teachers and staff are lined up to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras announced on Thursday that employees would start receiving vaccine registration links that same day.
- More than 70% of Virginians likely to get COVID-19 vaccine and 64% back mask mandate, VCU poll findsA statewide poll released Thursday by Virginia Commonwealth University found that more than 70% of Virginians say they are now likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a 13% increase from September, and 64% back a federal-level mask mandate.
- The Virginia Department of Health has expanded its partnership with Walgreens to offer Abbott BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 antigen testing from four to fifteen stores.
- For COVID to become more similiar to a common cold, herd immunity is required, which can be achieved when large swaths of the population contract the virus or are vaccinated against it. The latter scenario would involve far fewer lives lost.
- The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots.
- Gov. Ralph Northam is holding a press conference today at 2 p.m. where he is expected to give an update on COVID-19 vaccinations, guidance for k-12 schools and security measures in advance of the Presidential Inauguration.