Are you covering Vaccine Mandates?

Are you covering Vaccine Mandates? Are you covering Vaccine Mandates?

1 Expert Answer

Allison Burdette

Professor in the Practice of Business Law,  Emory University, Goizueta Business School

This week’s FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine opens a new discussion on vaccine mandates and businesses. Now that the Pfizer vaccine is fully approved, it is expected that more businesses will require the vaccine for the return to work and for concerts, shopping or dining.


Goizueta Business School’s Allison Burdette says vaccine requirements for schools, the military and in medical services are well established.

  • There are many legal parallels to the smallpox vaccine mandates in the early 1900s. In 1905 the case of Jacobson V Massachusetts, the Supreme Court upheld a Massachusetts smallpox vaccine mandate as being consistent with the state police powers. These vaccines were also free to the public.
  • Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett left in place Indiana University’s vaccine mandate when it was brought to the highest court. Burdette says this action gives an important signal of how the Supreme Court will approach vaccine mandates. This took place before the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Burdette says it appears the FDA approval does not seem to matter legally but likely does matter when it comes to optics.


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