Can your employer force you to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

ATLANTA — Georgia could get its first coronavirus vaccine shipment in a matter of days, but a lot of people are still worried about getting a shot.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration took another crucial step toward approving the COVID-19 vaccine. An advisory panel endorsed the emergency use of the vaccine, clearing the way for it to be approved in the coming days.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

Channel 2 Anchor Jorge Estevez talked to Consumer Advisor Clark Howard about whether or not your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

The simple answer is, yes.

“Yeah, because you work at the pleasure of your employer,” Howard said. “And if they’re trying to create a safe work environment, they have a legal right to mandate that you get the vaccine. And if you don’t, they can give you the heave-ho.”


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Estevez asked if Howard thought there would be any exceptions.

“The only one is you can petition if you have a medical reason that makes it unsafe for you to get the vaccine,” Howard said.

Howard pointed out that there are some people who can’t get a flu vaccine because of pre-existing medical conditions. If you can prove that the COVID-19 might be dangerous for you, you could potentially not be vaccinated but keep your job.

It’s also possible to avoid getting the vaccine because of a “sincerely-held” religious belief.

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