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DOJ: Federal law doesn’t stop public agencies, private companies from requiring vaccinations

The opinion from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel clears the way for more federal agencies and organizations to require COVID-19 vaccinations.
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:30 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 12:03 PM EDT
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(WBTV) - Department of Justice lawyers say federal laws do not stop public agencies and private companies from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.

The opinion from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel clears the way for more federal agencies and organizations to require vaccinations.

In recent months, many public and private entities have announced that they will require individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In many cases, these organizations are requiring the vaccine for people to attend school or events in-person, return to work or be hired into a new job.

Some public and private colleges are requiring their students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the fall semester.

According to the legal counsel’s opinion, federal law would not prohibit entities from imposing such vaccination requirements for the currently available COVID-19 vaccines that are subject to emergency-use authorizations.

Instead, lawyers say federal law around emergency use authorizations only requires that potential vaccine recipients be “informed” of certain information, including “the option to accept or refuse administration of the product.”

Just recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccines.

A few months ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance saying employers are allowed to require the COVID-19 vaccine, and can also legally provide incentives, including cash, to workers who get vaccinated.

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