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With FDA approval, could employers require Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine?

covid vaccine
KRDO

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., (KRDO) - Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and up. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA, which will likely open the door to many more vaccine mandates.

In El Paso County at least 58.5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the vaccine dashboard. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation says nearly one-third of Americans were waiting on the FDA approval on one of the vaccines before they would feel comfortable getting the vaccine. While the three vaccines used in the U.S., Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson, were first put out as an emergency used authorization tool, an FDA approval could mean more businesses and employers may feel more confident in requiring the vaccine at their place of work.

"The Food and Drug Administration and its vaccine approval process is one of the strongest in the world, so I would feel very comfortable that the safety and efficacy has been established,” said Dr. Joel Tanaka with Peak Vista.

For Paulette Provost of Colorado Springs, the approval comes at a crucial time as case numbers increase.

“The excuse was, 'Well it hasn't been approved,' well it has now. For those who are not getting it, I really do not understand their thought process, but again, not gonna shame them," said Provost.

But some still remain hesitant.

“I personally have a strong immune system, I have survived COVID-19 and I do not believe that I need it,” said Dustin Johnson, a Colorado Springs resident.

As for employers, legal experts say they can require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  The FDA approval makes their argument even stronger.

"This will add some more certainty for some employers who have been considering requiring the vaccine as a condition of employment, but did not want to do it as an emergency use authorization,” said employment lawyer, Ian Kalmanowitz.

The Pentagon says they plan to make the Pfizer vaccine mandatory for all U.S. military members, this applies to the significant population here in Southern Colorado.

Unless one has a valid and approved religious or medical exemption to not get vaccinated, an employee can get fired if they refuse to get vaccinated.

"Just saying you have religious objection is not enough, the employer will still have to accommodate you with some alterations at work that will allow you to perform your job without dealing with the vaccine requirement and risks associated," Kalmanowitz.

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Jasmine Arenas

Jasmine is an MMJ and Anchor for Telemundo Surco and KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Jasmine here.

Comments

24 Comments

  1. So, does that mean you can sue your employer or Pfizer for damages if you have adverse reactions from the vaccine that you were forced to take?

    1. You can sue anyone you want. Whether or not you would be likely to win is the question. The bottom line in Colorado is that you’re not forced to do anything, because you always have the option to leave.

      1. “…you’re not forced to do anything, because you always have the option to leave.” I hope that is burned into your memory.

        1. I agree Laissez-faire,
          To answer your initial question, this is what I am also looking into currently. Specifically the PREP Act. I have not found if the limitations of liability are still in effect or if they were lifted. The PREP Act still appears to be in place, and that is a concern because it conflicts with the “Full Approval” the FDA has given to Pfizer.

          1. Thank-you! I’m not trying to be snarky with anyone. To me, if the vaccine is so “safe and effective” as is being drilled into us, the companies that make the vaccine and the governments that approve and mandate the vaccines should stand by their work and laws with full accountability. To not take full accountability implies that they know the vaccines have issues.

    2. I say its a workmen’s comp claim if they make you take it for employment. There have been some forms posted online whereas when an employer insists on the shot- have THEM sign a liability responsibility agreement.

  2. “As for employers, legal experts say they can require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
    .
    This has been the case from the beginning. With Colorado being an “employment-at-will” state, employers can make any demands they want to, and employees can either comply or leave.
    .
    It that fair? Possibly not, especially for employees. Does it make sense? In this case it does, when the employer is responsible for the well-being of staff and customers, and even more especially in the health care industry when patients are involved. And most health care organizations have required numerous vaccinations for years with no questions ever asked until now.

    1. Colorado is only an “at will” employment state on paper. In reality, it is not.
      .
      You can fire someone “at will”, but when they claim you fired them because of their gender, age, race, etc., you will now have to come up with an actual valid reason. No jury will ever believe you fired a good employee “just because.”

      1. Yep, and you can’t fire someone based on religion, so if they claim a religious exemption to the jab and you fire them for that, good luck in court.

  3. I would hate to be one of these companies attempting to force this through without any prior legal precedence. There will be lawsuits, some won, some lost, but there will be a lot if the government attempts to force this through. Remember, though the Judicial System works for the Federal government, a jury of your peers does not.

      1. And yet legally they could still agree with the victim a.k.a. the employee, and agree that the corporation created this current unestablished vaccination precedence and that this decision was at no fault of the employee. We have had prior vaccinations before yet none have ever established the high level this federal government is trying to give to corporations. Why should your employer have the right to know your medical history and be authorized to enforce a potential vaccine p@ssport under penalty of loss of employment. Most misdemeanor crimes do not come with such a damaging and life changing recourse as loss of employment for failure to comply.

        1. And it isn’t our government opting to enforce this, the government is allowing corporations to enforce this but signaling to the corporations that the governmental judicial system will support their decisions. If that isn’t one-sided against the rights of the individual / employee what else would you call it? Remember a jury of your peers can be the real deciding factors in these instances.

          1. What legal precedence has been already affirmed that would show that one’s employer is NOT an unauthorized person or organization? Aside from a DR.’s “Return to work” note to provide to your employer when coming back from medical LOA, which you, the employee, are choosing to provide to your employer to return to work status. Additionally, how many of those RTW LOA notes from a DR. specifically list what the specific medical condition you were being treated for at that time so your employer knows your medical history. The answer should be none because… surprise HIPAA!
            So if your employer is not authorized to know WHY you were out sick, but just that you are now safe to RTW.
            This is different because for one, they are byp@ssing government regulation over vaccine management and attempting to p@ss that on to the employer with no legal precedence (See statements in above posts). Two because there is no precedence and HIPAA was enacted for the individual to know their medical records were only shared with parties that people or organizations. Three, the individual sets the legal requirement as they, the party whose information is being protected. They are the sole person who ultimately authorizes who is an authorized person or organization as it is their information. Your medical care provider and you corporation you work for do not have that authority, only the individual, parent or legal guardian does.

        2. Obviously schools and vaccines are an entirely different scenario than the entire populace and their corporate employers so this is not a apples-to-apples comparison precedence.

          1. It would also be different if the government was enforcing the Mandatory vaccination, as that is the precedence.
            “Historically, the preservation of the public health has been the primary responsibility of state and local governments, and the authority to enact laws relevant to the protection of the public health derives from the state’s general police powers.”
            https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RS21414.html
            There is no precedence for the federal government to give over the powers the federal government has to private corporations to publicly invade your Medical privacy. Hence, this is why people keep coming back to the HIPPA question. Not that HIPPA is a valid reason to not get the jab but the totality of what I said because of lack of legal precedence.

          2. And this is only further enforced by how well the state is handling every other vaccination they are supposed to maintain and are failing. If the CO-VID vaccination mandate was in proper precedence this is how well it would be managed by the government. Which is why the Government is pushing to have the corporations have this authority, even though there is no legal precedence.
            https://krdo.com/news/2021/08/24/vaccinations-other-than-covid-19-lag-for-school-children-statewide/

          3. HIPAA (note the spelling) is a different beast altogether, but people often confuse its meaning. It’s purpose is only to prevent the accidental disclosure of your personal information to unauthorized people or organizations. I doesn’t prevent anyone asking for it, or prevent them taking action if you choose not to disclose it to them.

          4. Good grief! Several typos . . .
            .
            HIPAA (note the spelling) is a different beast altogether, but people often confuse its meaning. Its purpose is only to prevent the accidental disclosure of your personal information to unauthorized people or organizations. It doesn’t prevent anyone asking for your personal information, or prevent them taking action if you choose not to disclose it to them.

          5. oops my misspelling must have clearly derailed you because I misspelled HIPAA… twice! you knew what was intended.
            I knew you would get hung up on that, which is why I ended the statement by stating, “Hence, this is why people keep coming back to the HIPPA question. Not that HIPPA is a valid reason to not get the jab but the totality of what I said because of lack of legal precedence.”
            because as you so eloquently stated, “It’s purpose is only to prevent the accidental disclosure of your personal information to unauthorized people or organizations.”
            A persons employer has no rights to their personal information as they are unauthorized people or organizations. The employee has the ability to prevent accidental disclosure of their medical information or face repercussions of being terminated by their employer simply because there is no legal precedence as I have already mentioned above.
            So again, “Hence, this is why people keep coming back to the HIPPA question. Not that HIPPA is a valid reason to not get the jab but the totality of what I said because of lack of legal precedence.”

          6. What legal precedence has been already affirmed that would show that one’s employer is NOT an unauthorized person or organization? Aside from a DR.’s “Return to work” note to provide to your employer when coming back from medical LOA, which you, the employee, are choosing to provide to your employer to return to work status. Additionally, how many of those RTW LOA notes from a DR. specifically list what the specific medical condition you were being treated for at that time so your employer knows your medical history. The answer should be none because… surprise HIPAA!
            So if your employer is not authorized to know WHY you were out sick, but just that you are now safe to RTW.
            This is different because for one, they are byp@ssing government regulation over vaccine management and attempting to p@ss that on to the employer with no legal precedence (See statements in above posts). Two because there is no precedence and HIPAA was enacted for the individual to know their medical records were only shared with parties that people or organizations. Three, the individual sets the legal requirement as they, the party whose information is being protected. They are the sole person who ultimately authorizes who is an authorized person or organization as it is their information. Your medical care provider and you corporation you work for do not have that authority, only the individual, parent or legal guardian does.

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