THE PFIZER VACCINE IS NOW THE FIRST COVID-19 VACCINE TO GET FULL APPROVAL FROM THE FDA. THE AGENCY'S DECISION COULD TRIGGER A BIG CHANGE IN THE WORKFORCE AS EMPLOYERS MULL THE IDEA OF VACCINE MANDATES IN THE WORKPLACE.
WE'RE LOOKING AT WHAT THE PFIZER APPROVAL MEANS FOR EMPLOYERS WITH BROWNSTEIN EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY CHRISTINE SAMSEL.
NOTES FROM CHRISTINE SAMSEL:
--With the grant of full approval by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, one major legal hurdle to employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccines has been cleared. We are likely to see a flood of employers implementing vaccine mandates for their employees in the coming days
--The statutory provisions governing the FDA’s emergency process include language that raised concerns about the legality of employers mandating vaccines authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization. Specifically, the relevant provision requires that recipients of EUA products, including the vaccines, be informed, to the extent practicable, that they have “the option to accept or refuse administration of the [EUA] product…"
-- Employer vaccine mandates are subject to legally required exemptions. This includes accommodations for medical conditions (such as pregnancy or allergy to components of the vaccine), disabilities and sincerely-held religious beliefs under laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as amended by, among other things, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Employers must also consider state laws of similar effect.