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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.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.