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COVID-19 vaccines cannot be mandated: Here's why

WGFL Gainesville logo WGFL Gainesville 3/31/2021 Briana Nespral

Ever since the FDA granted emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccines, employers, schools, and other organizations have been grappling with whether or not to require the shot. 

Right now, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson are all being used under an emergency use authorization. Under federal law, until the vaccines are licensed, they cannot be mandated.

UF Health infectious disease expert, Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi, said there are steps vaccines have to go through before they are licensed.

"Step one is going to be learning about safety of the vaccine in all age groups and in all conditions," said Cherabuddi. "Two would be understanding that vaccines prevent spread of infection as well."

Only then can schools or businesses even consider requiring the vaccine like they require polio or chickenpox vaccines.

But Dr. Cherabuddi said he sees these vaccines getting approved and licensed as early as the start of next year, meaning vaccine requirements could come sooner than you think.

"Science has moved ahead. We've moved ahead. It would have taken us four years to have a vaccine. We've had it in six months."

For now, organizations can only encourage their employees and students to be vaccinated.

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