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Emergency Management & Public Health

Posted on: August 5, 2021

DOJ Opinion Provides Vaccination Insights for Employers

An opinion released this week from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) examines whether or not federal law prohibits public agencies and private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines. According to the opinion, “section 564 of the FDCA [Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] does not prohibit public or private entities from imposing vaccination requirements, even when the only vaccines available are those authorized under EUAs [Emergency Use Authorizations].” The opinion from the DOJ is in line with several legal challenges from across the country, such as one brought by employees of a hospital in Houston and another by students at Indiana University, which sought unsuccessfully to block policies mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.

For an additional resource on this topic, the NJ Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund offers a Bulletin to its members regarding mandatory vaccination of employees and recommends reviewing such policies with your municipal attorney prior to implementation.

For specific legal guidance on mandatory vaccination policies, how to address an individual employee’s issues concerning vaccinations, or before implementing such a policy, municipalities are strongly encouraged to seek legal guidance from their municipal and labor attorneys.

Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, fmarshall@njlm.org, 609-695-3481, x137.

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