The Department of Justice has issued an opinion confirming that federal law does not prohibit public or private employers from requiring workers to get COVID-19 vaccines that are under emergency use authorization by the FDA.
It also paves the way for more private businesses and public agencies to issue their own vaccine mandates, as more have sought to do with the Delta variant raging and the vaccination rollout slumping in the face of hardened resistance.
The DOJ opinion dated earlier this month found that the law concerning emergency use authorizations ‘does not prohibit entities from imposing vaccination requirements.’
The DOJ has issued an opinion confirming that public or private employers can require workers to get COVD-19 vaccines. Attorney General Merrick Garland is seen above
On Monday, California and New York City announced that they would require all government employees to get the coronavirus vaccine or face weekly COVID-19 testing, and the VA became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to receive the shot.
Meanwhile, in a possible sign that increasingly dire health warnings are raising awareness, vaccination rates began to creep up again, offering hope that the nation could yet break free of the coronavirus if people who have been reluctant to receive the shot are finally inoculated.
As of Tuesday 49.2 percent of the total US population was fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Nearly 400,000 doses had been administered in the prior day.
The moves in California and New York are the ‘opening of the floodgates’ as more government entities and companies impose vaccine mandates after nationwide vaccination efforts ‘hit a wall,’ said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University´s School of Public Health.
‘Some people find mask mandates annoying, but the reality is they´re temporary. We can´t do them forever,’ he said. ‘Vaccine mandates have to be one of the major paths moving forward because they get us closer to the finish line. Mask mandates just buy you a little more time.’
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all municipal workers – including teachers and police officers – will be required to get vaccinated by mid-September
California said it will similarly require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for all state workers and millions of public- and private-sector health care employees starting next month
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all municipal workers – including teachers and police officers – will be required to get vaccinated by mid-September or face weekly COVID-19 testing, making the city one of the largest employers in the U.S. to take such action.
California said it will similarly require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for all state workers and millions of public- and private-sector health care employees starting next month.
The VA’s move came on a day when nearly 60 leading medical and health care organizations issued a call through the American Medical Association for health care facilities to require their workers to get vaccinated.
It was unclear what would happen to employees who refuse to comply. Some of the unions representing New York municipal workers said the city could not impose the requirement without negotiations.
The longstanding policy in the health care industry is for staff to stay up-to-date with vaccinations, such as annual flu shots, but a general rule also allows exceptions for medical reasons, such as allergies.
Elsewhere, St. Louis became the second major city to mandate that face masks be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, joining Los Angeles in re-imposing the orders.
‘For those who are vaccinated, this may feel like punishment, punishment for doing the right thing,’ St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat, said Monday. ‘I´ve heard that, and I feel that frustration.’
President Joe Biden should ‘lead by example’ and impose further mandates on the federal workforce and in public venues where the government has jurisdiction, including in planes, trains and federal buildings, said Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner.
‘We need vaccine mandates and vaccine verification,’ she said. ‘We´re well past the time for the Biden administration to get on board with this. What we´re doing is not working. Doing more of the same is not the answer here.’
The administration has so far recommended that unvaccinated people keep wearing masks indoors, but top officials over the weekend said they are considering recommending that the vaccinated also wear them indoors.
‘We’re going in the wrong direction,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation´s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.