The United States Department of Justice concluded today in an opinion, that Federal law does not prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines that are under emergency use authorization.
Three major government entities the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, California and New York City said Monday they would require some or all of their government employees to get vaccinated or be tested weekly. The vaccines are still awaiting full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
The opinion notes that some have questioned whether such entities can lawfully impose such requirements. In the opinion, the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel says the law concerning emergency use authorizations (EUAs) “does not prohibit public or private entities from imposing vaccine requirements, even when the only vaccines available are those authorized under EUAs.”
The VA became the first agency in the federal government to announce that it will require patient-facing employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Last week, during a White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that every White House official had been offered a COVID-19 vaccine, but clarified Friday that the White House was not requiring officials to be vaccinated.