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Illegal to mandate vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization
Any COVID vaccine(s) approved for emergency use should be voluntary, since the vaccine(s) are considered investigational and are held to a much lower standard for both efficacy and safety. For example, compared to the non-emergency approval process to get full licensure, an emergency approval allows for a vaccine that “may” be effective, compared to the non-emergency approval process where a vaccine must demonstrate “substantial” effectiveness.
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) law is clear: States are barred from mandating a vaccine approved for emergency usage. (See Section VI. Preemption.) It also should be illegal for private businesses, airlines or your employer to mandate a vaccination while it is approved under an EUA.
The New York Bar Association somehow missed this materially important barrier to mandates. Their attorneys published a position statement urging states to make COVID vaccination mandatory, allowing only a medical exemption. It appears that these lawyers either have supernatural foresight that COVID vaccines will be granted full licensure sometime in the future, or they have great hubris thinking they can override EUA law.
Only if the FDA were to grant full licensure, which normally takes years, would the states or businesses be allowed to consider vaccine mandates. The PREP Act exempts COVID vaccine manufacturers from liability, even if the vaccine(s) harm recipients, so the idea of mandates is particularly frightening.