Can employers require you to be vaccinated? Clearing up COVID-19 confusion in the Carolinas

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Can vaccines be required by employers? There is a lot of confusion in the Carolinas since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines last week.  

Overall, rules on vaccines and masks are left to employers, the state and the county governments. Part of the confusion in the Carolinas is due to leaders and lawmakers taking different positions. 

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is following the CDC recommendations from indoor masking to requiring vaccines of state employees. 

Whereas South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has not changed his position, leaving it up to parents and businesses to decide for themselves. Gov. McMaster said he will not wear a mask because he already had COVID-19 and has been vaccinated. 

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an employer’s right to require vaccines in the 1905 case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. That case involved a challenge by a local pastor during a smallpox outbreak, when the U.S. Supreme Court told employers they could order vaccines. 

Additionally, Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote in the opinion ‘a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.’ 

It was the feeling that public safety always supersedes individual liberties. 

Furthermore, President Joe Biden issued an order that every federal employee and on-site contractor must show proof of vaccination status or suffer the consequences. Those include – 

  • Mask on job in all geographic locations; 
  • Physically distance from other employees and visitors;  
  • Weekly or twice weekly screening tests requirement, and; 
  • Restrictions on official travel. 

COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Editor’s Note: CBS 17 (WNCN) edited some of the content in this article.

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