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L-R: Mari I. Gangadean, Michelle N. Michael, and Ronda K. O'donnell of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. Courtesy photos L-R: Mari I. Gangadean, Michelle N. Michael, and Ronda K. O’donnell of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. Courtesy photos

During the recent vice presidential debate, Sen. Kamala Harris made it abundantly clear that she will only follow instructions from health experts on whether to take a coronavirus vaccine, not President Donald Trump. That is not surprising given the current political climate. Might her response be different, however, if her employer mandated that she receive a coronavirus vaccine in order to continue working at her job?

As employers struggle to make decisions on how best to keep their employees, patients and customers safe during the continuing pandemic, a question employers may be pondering now is, once a coronavirus vaccine is approved for safe distribution to the U.S. population, can or should the company mandate that all employees receive the vaccine? While the enforceability of such a mandate is not yet clear, given the unusual and deadly nature of the coronavirus, potential guidelines for employers are found in guidance published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and existing federal and state cases related to previously developed vaccines.

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