Dec 16, 2020 - Health

The brewing workplace debate over vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccine

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The next big office debate: Can employers force staff to take vaccines to return to work?

Why it matters: The short answer is that employers can create such requirements, with some wiggle room.

  • The law lets both public and private organizations require vaccinations, and schools, hospitals and a host of other institutions have long done so.
  • “Lawyers could argue that prior cases didn’t consider a drug authorized only for emergency use by the F.D.A., as the early coronavirus vaccines will be. Or perhaps a more conservative-leaning Supreme Court would be open to revisiting prior precedent,” per the New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin.

The big picture: Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, has said that life cannot return to normal until around 75% of America is vaccinated, but many Americans remain skeptical.

The bottom line: Companies could play a key role in upping vaccination numbers by asking their employees — or even their customers — to take it.Go deeper: Sorkin spoke with executives about their thoughts on requiring worker vaccinations.

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