In a February 2021 article, statnews.com (citing numerous Federal and FDA sources) had this headline:

"Federal law prohibits employers and others from requiring vaccination with a Covid-19 vaccine distributed under an EUA."

With some businesses, large and small, mandating their workers become vaccinated, it's triggered a tug-of-war about whether those mandates are legal.

A business can do so, but they might not be able to enforce it.

The FDA has not licensed any of the 'big three' vaccines being used to guard against COVID-19. Last December, 2020, the FDA and Federal government granted what is called EUA, or Emergency Use Authorization. They were strict in their wording that under this EUA, like others in the past, a citizen must be given a choice whether they wish to take it or not.

statnews.com pointed out very clearly:

"The same section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that authorizes the FDA to grant emergency use authorization also requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to “ensure that individuals to whom the product is administered are informed … of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product.”

So, for starters, you have the actual Act just referenced, that contains guidelines or protections so people will not be 'forced' into receiving a vaccine or product.

 But Can't a Private Business Fire Someone for Any Reason? (Right to work)

So, that would mean that the companies you have been hearing about who mandate vaccines are doing so illegally?  What comes into play is private industry, or right to work. A private business can often terminate a worker for any reason, and conceivably that could include vaccine refusal.

However, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, known as the EEOC, points out that there may be exemptions for workers who refuse. According to the Society for Human Resources Management website (shrm.org):

"The EEOC issued guidance stating that employees may be exempt from employer vaccination mandates under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and other workplace laws."

SHRM reported March 21 of this year that a public works sector employee had sued on the grounds that FDA and Federal EUA statutes state that people must have the option to accept or refuse the vaccine.

According to statnews,  Congress, in granting the EUA's by way of the FDA, chose to require every individual to allow for themselves whether to receive a EUA product (any of the vaccines).

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statnews included this statement at the end of the article, concerning mandates:

"...This means that an organization will likely be at odds with federal law if it requires its employees, students or other members to get a Covid-19 vaccine that is being distributed under emergency use authorization."

Perhaps the best way to deal with this, if you're a person facing such a situation, is to consult with an attorney.  Here, we are simply presenting information pertinent to the situation.

As for Governor Inslee's state worker mandate, the likely reason it will not go into effect until October 18th is because he, and AG Bob Ferguson, are aware of the very sticky situation concerning EUA's.  They're hedging that by the time Oct. rolls around, the FDA will have formally approved the three major vaccines.  When you examine all these puzzle pieces, that certainly appears to be what they are doing. Using the calendar to dodge the requirements of the EUA's.

 

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