Who can force you to get a covid-19 vaccine?
The CDC's revised mask-wearing guidance has encouraged some government departments, local authorities and private businesses to implement new rules for the unvaccinated.
The United States has finally reached President Biden’s Independence Day target of getting 70% of American adults vaccinated with at least one dose. However while this does represent a considerable milestone, there are still millions choosing not to get a vaccine.
In response to this, some employers, universities and local governments have started to introduce extra requirements for people who refuse to get vaccinated. Typically this would mean adhering to stricter guidelines on masking and social distancing, or even having to undergo extra covid-19 testing.
There are no plans to force all American to get a covid-19 vaccine, but some authorities are limiting the activities of those who are not vaccinated for the safety of those around them.
Biden introduces restrictions for unvaccinated federal employees
On Thursday Biden introduced new covid-19 requirements for hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors, his most concerted effort to persuade them to get the vaccine. He described the stalling vaccination rate as an “American tragedy”.
Employees of the federal government will now have to sign paperwork confirming that they have been vaccinated or will have to comply with new rules in the workplace. They will be required to wear masks and maintain social distance with colleagues and customers, as well as submit to weekly covid-19 tests.
“Right now, too many people are dying or watching someone they love die and say, ‘If I’d just got the vaccine,’” Biden said in a White House address. “This is an American tragedy. People are dying who don’t have to die.”
The new rules follow the decision made by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, who last month became the first federal agency to impose extra restrictions on non-vaccinated employees.
Republican governors race to impose bans on vaccine rules
Across the country some school districts, public services and private businesses are requiring workers to show proof of vaccination to continue working, particularly in customer-facing roles. It comes on the back of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising that even vaccinated people should consider wearing masks indoors in areas of high covid-19 infection.
The likes of Google, CNN, Netflix, Morgan Stanley and The Washington Post have all introduced their own vaccine requirements, with others choosing to provide incentives to get staff vaccinated.
However attempts to impose vaccine rules have faced tough opposition in the nine Republican-led states which have passed laws prohibiting the introduction of vaccine mandates. Many of these specifically relate to state and local government, meaning that private businesses and private schools are free to enforce their own rules.