Thinking Citizen Blog — Should Vaccination Be Mandated? For Whom? By Whom?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic: Should Vaccination Be Mandated? For Whom? By Whom?

Can a private company mandate that its employees get vaccinated? Should local, state, or federal authorities mandate vaccination for essential workers? How about for all workers? Should universities mandate that students get vaccinated? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

EZEKIEL EMANUEL (Vice Provost, University of Pennsylvania and Member of President Biden’s Covid-19 Advisory Board): mandate vaccination for all health care workers and students

1. “Employers should also be prepared to make vaccines mandatory for prison guards, EMTs, police officers, firefighters and teachers if overall vaccinations do not reach the level required for herd immunity.”

2. “To return to our prepandemic lives, we will need to achieve herd immunity, with 70–80% of the population having some form of immunity. That’s a steep climb.”

3. “None of us likes being told what to do. But getting vaccinated is not just about our personal health, but the heath of our communities and country. Health care workers are professionals whose. primary obligation is to their patients’ health and well-being…No patient should worry whether her doctor, nurse, or blood draw technician is vaccinated. Health care facilities should require all their workers to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, just as many do for the flu.”

NB: “Similarly all colleges and school districts should mandate that students who authorized to receive Covid-19 vaccines get them. All 50 states already require certain vaccines for children to attend school. A Covid-19 vaccine should be no different. Tens of millions more Americans would be vaccinated as a result, pushing the country closer to herd immunity. This approach would also ensure vaccination equity by getting shots to all children, including poor children. Religious or philosophical exemptions should not be allowed.”

THE LEGALITY OF PRIVATE VACCINE MANDATES

1. “Since the 2009 Swine Flu Epidemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has held that employers are allowed to require their employees to receive certain vaccinations, provided they are offered reasonable accommodations based on religion or disability.” (NYT)

2. “The general legal reality is that employment in the United States is at-will, and employers can fire employees for almost any reason, with few exceptions from anti-discrimination laws.” (Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law).

A GOVERNMENT MANDATE WOULD PROBABLY BE ILLEGAL BEFORE THE FDA GRANTS FULL APPROVAL

1. So far the FDA has only granted authorization the vaccines for “emergency use.

2. “Under the 2004 federal law that governs emergency use authorization, or E.U.A., individuals must be informed “of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product, of the consequences, if any, of refusing administration of the product.”

3. “Many legal experts have interpreted this language to mean that mandatory Covid vaccination would be illegal until the F.D.A. grants full approval.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/opinion/coronavirus-vaccinations-mandate.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/15/opinion/covid-vaccine-mandate.html

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YOUR TURN

Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.