Despite what some vaccine law “experts” have been saying, for the time being no one, including employers, can force a COVID-19 vaccine on anyone.
This is because the current vaccines being used in the U.S. have not been formally approved by the FDA. Rather, they’ve only received an emergency use authorization (EUA) while clinical trials continue. Ever since the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for two new vaccines, employers, schools, and other organizations are grappling with whether to require Covid-19 vaccination.
While organizations are certainly free to encourage their employees, students, and other members to be vaccinated, federal law provides that, at least until the vaccine is licensed, individuals must have the option to accept or decline to be vaccinated. Knowing what an organization can or cannot do with respect to Covid-19 vaccines can help them keep their employees, students, and members safe and also save the them from costly and time-consuming litigation.
Much remains unknown about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine
Even though the FDA granted emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in December 2020, the clinical trials the FDA will rely upon to ultimately decide whether to license these vaccines are still underway and are designed to last for approximately two years to collect adequate data to establish if these vaccines are safe and effective enough for the FDA to license.