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Biden Weighs Vaccine Mandate for the Federal Workforce

Government Executive

Federal law does not prohibit public and private entities from mandating coronavirus vaccines, even though those vaccines do not yet have full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, according to a legal opinion from the Justice Department posted on Monday. 


“This legal opinion is consistent with the prediction in our spring article that by year’s end, the federal government could mandate that federal contractor employees obtain vaccinations as a condition of their continued work on federal contracts,” Albert Krachman, a partner for government contracts at the law firm Blank Rome LLP, told Government Executive, in reference to an article he wrote in March with Brooke Iley, a partner for labor and employment law at the firm. 

The new legal opinion, along with the quickly spreading Delta variant and increase in hospitalizations suggest there could be “some form of federal contractor vaccine mandate sooner rather than later,” he said. 

“It’s also significant that the opinion informs the administration that if the president signs a waiver, the Department of Defense can mandate vaccines for DoD employees,” Krachman said. “We believe there is a reasonable likelihood that the President will sign the waiver, and the DoD waiver would very likely trigger some form of DoD contractor vaccine mandate.”

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“Biden Weighs Vaccine Mandate for the Federal Workforce,” by Courtney Buble was published in Government Executive on July 27, 2021.