Washburn Law professor breaks down why employers can mandate vaccine

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FILE – In this March 2, 2021, file photo, pharmacy technician Hollie Maloney loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Food and Drug Administration has granted full authorization to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to people 16 years and older. The move is creating expectations that vaccines will largely be mandated by employers.

Jeffrey Jackson is a constitutional law professor at Washburn University School of Law. Jackson said legally the vaccine authorization doesn’t change anything for employees, it really changes things for employers.

“Employers generally can mandate vaccines as a condition of employment,” Jackson said.

Now companies and private businesses will feel more comfortable requiring the vaccine, as previously it was still under emergency authorization use.

“Knowing now that the vaccine has received full approval will make employers much more likely to require vaccine mandates,” Jackson said. “That was something they were hesitant to do.”

While you can argue a medical or religious exemption, it is not that simple.

“Your employer can show that you not being vaccinated could be a danger to the workplace, which I think is pretty clear, then they actually don’t have to give you a religious exemption at all,” Jackson said.

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