A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report examines what employers, businesses, and political leaders can and should do to help people get vaccinated against the coronavirus, once a vaccine is available, and the legal constraints they face.
“A vaccine that protects against infection is probably the only way to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joel M. Zinberg, CEI senior fellow and author of the report, Science May Be the Easy Part: Making Sure a COVID-19 Vaccine Is Used. “Developing a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is only half the solution. Getting people to use it is the other half. The problem, from what we know about vaccination for other diseases like influenza and from recent opinion surveys, is that many Americans will not be vaccinated. Private sector and political leaders must incentivize people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus to stop people from getting sick and, most importantly, protect people who are most vulnerable to severe illness or death.”
The report examines whether mandatory vaccination programs will be needed, if they can pass legal and constitutional muster, and how to narrowly target vaccination policies to maximize public health while respecting individual rights, including religious objections. State laws already exist to mandate vaccinations for other diseases. The report takes a close look at how courts have treated such laws historically and how they might treat a COVID-19 mandate.
“Vaccination should be targeted toward people who are most vulnerable and those who are most likely to transmit the disease, with voluntary uptake encouraged for others,” said Zinberg.
The report urges employers and private institutions, such as long term care facilities and hospitals, to encourage vaccination for employees and residents using no-cost provisions and other incentives and, if voluntary vaccine uptake is inadequate, to consider mandating vaccination.
View the report by Joel M. Zinberg, Science May Be the Easy Part: Making Sure a COVID-19 Vaccine Is Used