State governments likely have the ability to mandate that its citizens receive the COVID-19 vaccine, a University of California, Berkeley law professor said at a New York State Bar Association panel discussion that explored the legal and public health complications of a pandemic that had grown out of control.

The argument, posited by Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, came during the presidential summit of the NYSBA’s annual meeting, which for the first time was held remotely as deaths from the virus had eclipsed 425,000 in the United States. According to NYSBA president Scott Karson, more than 400 participants logged on to view the panel.