Are vaccine mandates legal? Local lawyers weigh in


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – New York City’s new vaccination mandate for places like restaurants, gyms, concert halls and more, has been met with backlash from many people who feel it’s a violation of their personal rights.

Phyllis Burkett-Caraway, who is fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s COVID vaccine, isn’t sure these types of vaccine mandates are the right move. “How do you enforce that? How do you put your employees in the position of managing that?”

Regardless of personal opinion on the vaccination mandate in places like NYC, Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a professor of law at the University of Dayton, said it’s not illegal. “The same way when they said that you’re not going to open. When the COVID was really bad. The same way they said hey you’re gonna wear masks. They have the right to protect the health and wealth of citizens.”

Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer of Miami Valley Hospital, said a room that’s full of vaccinated people is much safer than a room with unvaccinated people. “If you do happen to be unfortunate enough to pick up the COVID virus, while you’re vaccinated, it lowers the severity even more.”

For people who can’t get the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons, that’s also another difficult loophole to go through legally. “You’d obviously have to go to your physician and get a note of some kind. An exception that says this is my problem,” said Marc Clauson, a professor of history and law at Cedarville University.

Although Caraway feels getting vaccinated should remain a personal choice, she still feels it’s the right one. “The responsible choice seems to be, in my opinion, getting the vaccine as the responsible choice would be to wear the mask.”

Governor Mike DeWine hasn’t released any updated plans requiring vaccinations in certain businesses like NYC has done.

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