Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines—Ethical and Legal Considerations | Infectious Diseases | JN Learning | AMA Ed Hub [Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 34.239.150.57. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]

Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines hold promise to control the pandemic and help restore normal social and economic life. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for 2 messenger RNA vaccines and will likely issue full biologics licenses in the coming months. Anticipating vaccine scarcity, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) published guidance on vaccine priorities.

Data for the vaccines granted an EUA reportedly demonstrate 95% efficacy, but even highly effective vaccines cannot curb the pandemic without high population coverage and maintenance of other mitigation strategies. Recent data from 1676 adults surveyed November 30 to December 8, 2020, found that when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved and widely available: 34% would get it as soon as possible; 39% would wait; 9% would only get it if required for work or school; 15% would definitely not get it. Black persons, at high risk of infection and hospitalization, are less likely to report vaccine intent with only 20% reporting they would get the vaccine soon and 52% intending to wait.1 Intent to vaccinate has changed substantially over time and is likely to continue to evolve. In this Viewpoint, we examine whether vaccine mandates would be lawful and ethical and whether they could boost vaccine uptake.

Sign in to take quiz and track your certificates

Buy This Activity

JN Learning™ is the home for CME and MOC from the JAMA Network. Search by specialty or US state and earn AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credit™ from articles, audio, Clinical Challenges and more. Learn more about CME/MOC

Article Information

Corresponding Author: Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 (gostin@georgetown.edu).

Published Online: December 29, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.26553

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Salmon reported receiving grants from Walgreens and Merck and personal fees from Merck and Janssen. Dr Larson reported receiving grants from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline and honoraria from Merck for serving on a vaccine confidence advisory board and from GlaxoSmithKline for speaking at staff training sessions. No other conflicts were reported.

References
1.
Hamel  L , Kirzinger  A , Muñana  C , Brodie  M. KFF COVID-19 vaccine monitor. Kaiser Family Foundation. Posted December 15, 2020. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/report/kff-covid-19-vaccine-monitor-december-2020/
2.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State vaccination requirements. Last reviewed November 15, 2016. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/laws/state-reqs.html
3.
Phadke  VK , Bednarczyk  RA , Salmon  DA , Omer  SB .  Association between vaccine refusal and vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.   JAMA. 2016;315(11):1149-1158. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1353PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Virtual Yale CEO summit: finding common ground across a divided land. Yale School of Management. December 15, 2020. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://som.yale.edu/event/2020/12/virtual-yale-ceo-summit-finding-common-ground-across-divided-land-getting-your-workforce-shareholders-customers-and-communities-back-to-business
5.
What you should know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws. December 16, 2020. Accessed December 19, 2020. https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=
6.
Bellon  T . US employers could mandate a COVID-19 vaccine, but are unlikely to do so–experts. Reuters. December 2, 2020. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-vaccine-companies/u-s-employers-could-mandate-a-covid-19-vaccine-but-are-unlikely-to-do-so-experts-idUSKBN28C2LL
7.
Association of Immunization Managers. Position statement: school and child care immunization requirements. 2006. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.immunizationmanagers.org/resource/resmgr/files/aimpositionstatement.pdf
8.
Cash-Goldwasser  S , Kardooni  S , Cobb  L , Bochner  A , Bradford  E , Shahpar  C. Immunity passports. COVID-19 Science Review. Posted December 15, 2020. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://preventepidemics.org/covid19/science/weekly-science-review/december-5-11-2020/
If you are not a JN Learning subscriber, you can either:
Subscribe to JN Learning for one year
Buy this activity
jn-learning_Modal_Multimedia_LoginSubscribe_Purchase
Close
If you are not a JN Learning subscriber, you can either:
Subscribe to JN Learning for one year
Buy this activity
jn-learning_Modal_Multimedia_LoginSubscribe_Purchase
Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Access free activities and track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
Education Center Collection Sign In Modal Right
Close

Name Your Search

Save Search
Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
jn-learning_Modal_SaveSearch_NoAccess_Purchase
Close

Lookup An Activity

or

Close

My Saved Searches

You currently have no searches saved.

Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Access free activities and track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
Education Center Collection Sign In Modal Right
Close