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Jobs could require workers to get vaccinated for coronavirus

Posted at 8:18 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 21:18:23-05

Healthcare providers and frontline workers throughout the U.S. are getting vaccinated for coronavirus.

But as the vaccine becomes available to the general public, could you be forced to get the shot before returning to work?

"There's so much we don't know about COVID. We don't know if it's going to change every year like the flu does, or if getting this vaccine will give long term protection," said Dr. Tim Martindale, physician with Martindale Family Medicine Clinic.

Dr. Martindale has his own private practice in Waco. At his clinic, he requires his staff to get a flu vaccination every year.

When it comes to a policy for them to get a coronavirus vaccination, he's leaving it up to his staff. But things could change.

"We're assuming it'll need to be something that needs to be done every year, and if that's the case, it'll probably end up with the same mandates that the flu does," said Dr. Martindale.

Right now most hospitals and clinics set their own policies on requiring staff to get the flu shot. But other jobs like restaurants or retailers could require staff to get vaccinated for things like coronavirus.

"I'm sure that there are some businesses out there that have a lot of employees that are in close proximity that they're probably going to consider that that might be what they want to do," said attorney Jon Kerr with
Jon Kerr Law Firm.

Kerr says if businesses enforces a COVID-19 vaccine, it may come at cost to the employer.

"While an employer can mandate or require immunizations, it does expose that employer to some potential liabilities in case things don't go well," he said.

It could be a lose-lose situation. If an employee refuses to follow a vaccine policy, Kerr says some jobs have every right to fire you.

For now, Dr. Martindale says he's requested for his clinic to be a center for people to get vaccinated for coronavirus, but that could still take a few more months.