Can employers require workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine? HR, law experts weigh in.

Posted at 9:18 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 11:18:53-05

As health and political leaders craft strategies for distributing Covid-19 vaccines nationwide, questions about workforce implications of the rollout are top of mind for many employers.

The first and perhaps most obvious of these questions: Can I require my employees to get vaccinated? According to Diane Hoffmann, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, the answer is yes.

A vaccination is legally considered a medical procedure, which employers can require their employees to receive if deemed necessary to perform their jobs safely and successfully, said Hoffmann, who serves as director of the school's Law and Health Care Program.

Given the highly infectious nature of Covid-19, a vaccine mandate may be considered particularly in workplaces where employees must work on site and in close proximity to one another, or in those where they interact extensively with the public.

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