What Full FDA Approval of Pfizer Vaccine Means for Mandates at Private Companies

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More private companies are announcing vaccine mandates following Monday's full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration.

NBC 10 Boston legal analyst Michael Coyne put it bluntly: Employees who don't have an exemption may not have a choice when it comes to following vaccine mandates.



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"They are required to get the vaccine or get a different job. The law is quite clear at this point," he said. "Your employer, if they have a mandated vaccine policy, is likely going to terminate you and is well within their right to do so."

Coyne points to decades of legal precedent where courts have sided with science, mandating vaccines for health and safety reasons.

Considering the pandemic and the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, experts say it could be even harder to challenge an employer's mandate.

"Now, that is not without a risk that someone will file suit opposing the mandated vaccine," said Coyne.

Employment and labor law attorney Julyane Lazar said that's especially burdensome for small businesses who may not have enough resources to fight in court. She cautions even large-scale employers could face challenges.

"We are seeing more and more employers nationally starting to mandate this, and what we're seeing also nationally is more and more lawsuits coming," said Lazar.

Lazar offered this advice to anyone considering a mandate:

"It's a little stressful time, obviously, to be living in, and the best advice for any employer out there is to make sure you have solid policy," she said. "So employees know what to expect, so they are not being singled out and treated differently."

The legal experts said there are only two exemptions for avoiding a mandate — for medical or religious reasons — and that people seeking an exemption should be prepared to prove their cases in court.

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