TAMPA, Fla. — Can your boss force you to take the COVID-19 vaccine once it is approved by the FDA?
That's a question millions of employees are asking as the government edges closer to the distribution of Pfizer's vaccine.
A new Quinnipiac poll shows 61 percent of Americans are willing to take the vaccine, but almost a third of American's, 33 percent, say they don't want to.
What You Need To Know
- Can employees be forced to take vaccine?
- Employment attorney says not much governmental guidance regarding possible requirements
- Many companies are looking to the flu vaccine as a guide.
"The companies I've been speaking with as well want to make sure it's safe and that they are doing the right thing when it comes to obligations to employees," said Michael Schmidt, an employment attorney with Cozen O'Connor.
Cozen O'Connor has offices in 29 states including in Florida.
Schmidt mainly represents employers, and says in recent months his clients are asking a lot questions about the vaccine and whether requiring it, or simply encouraging it for employees, is the best way forward.
"Employers, as they have for the past 8 months or so, are really trying to balance, understand all the available information and what their rights are as a company to continue to engage in productive business while also wanting to make sure they have created a safe work environment for the employees they are asking to come back,” he said.
If your employer requires you to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it gets FDA approval, will you? We talked to an employment attorney who says most companies will be just as cautious as employees. The latest today @BN9 pic.twitter.com/lH8Shrk5vy— Jason Lanning (@Jason_Lanning) December 10, 2020
Schmidt says there is not a lot of guidance from the government about what employers can and can't do regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
And until more guidance comes out, many companies are looking to the flu vaccine as a guide.
Companies can require employees to take the flu vaccine, however they also must provide exemptions for medical and religious reasons.