Is President Biden’s vaccine mandate legal?

Local News

President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate raises some questions about the legality of the topic.

Attorney Eric Purchase said its going to take some time to figure out how this mandate will be enforced, but employers in Pennsylvania are required to follow federal guidelines.

“We have had federal and state legislation mandating vaccines for generations,” Purchase said.

While there are a lot of questions about how President Biden’s vaccine policy will be implemented, this kind of mandate isn’t new to the United States.

Purchase said there are vaccine mandates for viruses, including measles, mumps, and smallpox.

“They have been challenged for generations,” Purchase said. “They have been challenged in state and federal systems. Those statutes have been upheld by the highest courts in the land. There’s ample authority for using state authority to mandate vaccines.”

Purchase added Pennsylvania is a direct occupational safety and health administration state, meaning employers have to follow federal rules.

“We’re talking about employers making decisions about whether or not to comply with federal regulators. If they choose not to comply, they are certainly facing risk that most employers want to avoid.”

Erie resident Dennis Carlson said to him, the answer is simple in the interest of public health.

“It’s time to let the political argument go, and get vaccinated,” Carlson said. “Protect the people around you and yourself.”

At UPMC Hamot, the administration continues to evaluate what their next steps are in response to the president’s mandate.

“Some of our hospitals in New York and Maryland already have state mandates,” said Emily Shears, Director of Infection Prevention at UPMC Hamot. “So, we were preparing for this, and so, the president’s mandate is being reviewed by UPMC and we’re really waiting on next steps.”

Shears said about 70 percent of UPMC Hamot employees are vaccinated, and local hospitals continue to run clinics.

For a list of places to receive a shot, click HERE.

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