What to know about schools, employers requiring the COVID vaccine

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Thursday, April 15, 2021
Can a business or school require the COVID vaccine?
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Rutgers University and the NFL will mandate immunization for students and employees, but is it legal?

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- While the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to beat the pandemic, many want to know if a business or school can require you to get vaccinated.

The road back goes down an essential path as universities have jumped to the forefront, requiring students get immunized before classes start in the fall.

The trend started at Rutgers University but is being implemented at more institutions of higher learning.

"We did it early because we wanted to give students an opportunity to make the best decision for themselves," said Antonio Calcado, Rutgers Exec. VP, COO.

All 71,000 Rutgers students attending all three campuses will be immunized. The school is also a vaccine point of distribution, so that will help.

Businesses are also pushing the vaccines for all employees.

"As far as as I am concerned, you're either part of the problem or you're part of the solution," restaurant owner Paul Vagianos said.

Vagianos owns It's Greek To Me in Ridgewood where his staff of 20 put fear aside to keep everyone safe.

"I explained to them where I am on this that my children have been vaccinated and they understood," he said. "They were still afraid but they went for the vaccine that I arranged for them."

The NFL is now the biggest business to mandate COVID vaccines. All staff, coaches, managers and executives that come in contact with players must be vaccinated.

Some legal experts wonder if a vaccine with Emergency Use Authorization only can be required to return to work.

"Look I'm just waiting for the expert agencies in the federal government to get together and tell me to do this," said NYU Law Professor Sam Estreicher.

But lawyers say the EEOC has given the OK, so businesses are on solid legal ground.

"I do think that the bottom line is that exemptions need to be available, but it is perfectly permissible for employers to require vaccinations," ABC News legal contributor Kate Shaw said.

You can expect some complaints and some may turn into legal battles, but getting vaccinated may be enforced to make sure you or no one else ends up getting sick.

ALSO READ | Northwell Health opening trauma center for workers impacted by COVID-19

Michelle Charlesworth has more on the Northwell opening.
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