ORLANDO, Fla. - If you thought you were going to hold off on getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you may soon find out that you may not have a choice.
We are likely weeks away from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving a coronavirus vaccine. Now the question is, who will be getting it? Some people may be forced to.
Legally, employers can require an employee to get the shot. There are exemptions for disabilities, health and religious reasons, with proof but those who simply don’t want the vaccine, are not protected by the law.
“If you simply don’t like the idea of getting the vaccine, or you don’t trust the government, that is not going to give you an exemption,” said Larry Walters, Attorney.
Schools may also legally require students to get vaccinated.
“No question about it, yes, vaccines can be mandated by the schools, there are state laws throughout the country that allow for that, they’ve been upheld,” said Walters.
You may also be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine to do some of the things you love, like flying.
Australian Airlines Qantas, announcing it will likely require proof of the shot before you fly and other airlines are expected to follow.
“As the president and CEO of an airline, if you wanted to manage the health of your employees, ensure that everyone is traveling on your airline remains healthy and the business remains profitable, that is certainly something airlines could consider doing,” said Walters.
If you don’t meet exemptions for a disability, health or religious reasons, the law isn’t in your favor.
“You don’t have a right to fly on a plane, there’s no constitutional right to do that,” said Whitney Boan, Attorney.
“That’s a private company, that is establishing requirements for their customers, no shirt, no shoes, no vaccine, no service, it’s kind of all in the same category,” said Walters.
Visiting a theme park, may also carry the same requirement.
“We’ve already seen it, where companies are allowed to refuse and entry if you don’t wear a mask, they can make that decision on their own,” said Boan.
Music and sporting events, even restaurants and bars could implement the same vaccine requirement.
“You can chose not to go and is that sad in a lot of situations, yes but the law isn’t necessarily always going to be on your side,” said Boan.
How will businesses verify you got the vaccine? Some ideas are a card with a chip that can be scanned, or a sticker on your ID and passport.
But one mandate our legal experts do not think will happen, is a government mandate.
“It’s more difficult for the government to justify a broad measure like that, whereas with private businesses or schools, the courts are more deferential to the requirements,” said Walters.
The attorneys expect legal battles over the issue of mandatory vaccines in the coming months.
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