As debate and controversy surround vaccination mandates, the Justice Department has declared them legal. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion that federal law does not prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines under the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization (EUA).
In the DOJ’s opinion titled “MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE DEPUTY COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT”, it noted, “in recent months, many public and private entities have announced that they will require individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”
“In light of these developments, you have asked whether the ‘option to accept or refuse’ condition in section 564 prohibits entities from imposing such vaccination requirements while the only available vaccines for COVID-19 remain subject to EUA’s” the opinion continued.
“We conclude, consistent with FDA’s interpretation, that it does not” stated the opinion. “This language in section 564 specifies only that certain information be provided to potential vaccine recipients and does not prohibit entities from imposing vaccination requirements.”
As of Monday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, California and New York City announced the requirement for some or all of their government employees to be vaccinated or face consequences such as weekly testing.
Last week during a White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki admitted the White House has not required officials to be vaccinated, but suggested every White House official had been offered the vaccine. While being vague on White House vaccinations, Psaki said they are able to track how many individuals on the president’s staff have received the vaccines because “they are vaccinated here in the White House medical unit.”
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