Over a million people have already registered with a state-run site to be notified when they are available to receive a COVID vaccine, and some 200,000 vaccinations have already been administered here. Yet surveys show only 60% of New Jerseyans plan on getting the vaccine and many want to wait as long as possible. This leaves millions of people who don’t want to roll up a sleeve.

But what if your job tells you you have no choice? Either get the vaccine or be fired. Can they do that?

Yes.

Recent guidelines were put forth by the EEOC and it makes things very clear that they can.

Some mistakenly believed the Americans with Disabilities Act would protect them from a mandatory COVID vaccine because it gives employees rights against having to be subjected to certain medical exams. However, the EEOC says, “If a vaccine is administered to an employee by an employer for protection against contracting Covid-19, the employer is not seeking information about an individual’s impairments or current health status, and, therefore, it is not a medical examination.”

So mandatory vaccines as a condition of employment are allowed. We aren’t just talking about hospital workers, either. Any type of business that wants to create a mandate in order to have a safe workplace is in play; restaurants, retailers, offices, you name it.

But will they? I doubt it. I think the vast majority of companies large and small have gotten used by now to working through protocols to keep safety in mind and businesses opened. They also will know there are always exceptions. Religious exemptions can be claimed, and those who cannot take vaccines due to medical conditions cannot be mandated to do so. Businesses won’t want to open themselves up to too many legal challenges.

There’s even been talk of making proof of vaccination mandatory to attend concerts or sporting events or to fly on planes. These mandates are still being debated and thought through. Ultimately we have to hope enough of us will have the common sense to voluntarily vaccinate ourselves to achieve here immunity and end the pandemic. Those who don’t believe in vaccines any more than they believe in the legitimacy of the pandemic could then thank us for also keeping them safe from COVID, but they won’t.

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