Colleges/Universities Requiring COVID-19 Vaccines

Colleges And Universities Requiring The COVID-19 Vaccine.Schools and universities are mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for students. 71% of students regard colleges as having a right to mandate coronavirus vaccinations, while 29% do not support vaccination requirements or are not sure.[1] What kind of implications do mandatory vaccinations have for student bodies?

Are there exceptions to getting vaccinated?

Schools have been mandating vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, flu, meningitis, and other diseases for quite some time now.[2] There are exceptions towards a school-mandated vaccine, however, students must show proof of disability or a religious exemption. Proof of disability, such as a possible allergic reaction to a coronavirus vaccine, can be provided by a doctor or medical professional. There are cases, however, of doctors faking health or disability reasons to exempt their favorite patients from a university-mandated vaccine. Just like how individuals and doctors were not always honest when providing documentation to exempt their patients from conscription/military draft, like most recently during the Vietnam war. The disability exemption can be abused in this respect. Another example of dishonesty in this area have been students forging their vaccination documents.[3]

Religious exemptions must often provide an explanation of a student or employee’s religious beliefs that conflicts with the vaccine requirement. In addition, proof of documentation from a religious leader confirming those beliefs.[4]

What happens if I have an adverse reaction to a college/university-mandated vaccine?

There may not be much you can do against the university itself. If a student obtained a vaccine through the university, the school is almost certainly immune from liability under the PREP Act. This act provides “certain individuals and entities (“covered persons”) broad immunity” for the distribution and administration of the coronavirus vaccine.[5]

The PREP Act does allow for legal remedy for cases involving willful misconduct surrounding a coronavirus vaccine that caused death or serious physical injury.[6] Willful misconduct, in general terms, means “a knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformed enforced rule or policy… knowing that injury to a person will probably result or recklessly disregarding that possibility.”[7] This can be difficult to prove, yet it has been done in the past. One would have to go through the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in front of a three-judge panel to prove their case.

The PREP Act also includes a Covered Countermeasure Process Fund, which compensates eligible individuals that suffer serious injuries due to a government initiative such as this. This fund offers medical benefits, and/or lost wages for “eligible injured countermeasure recipients.”[8] In addition, death benefits are also acquirable for those who died.

What if I am a student and an employee of the school?

If an individual is a student at a college/university mandating a coronavirus vaccine as well as an employee/staff member of that school, it may not be likely to get workers’ compensation based on an adverse reaction to the vaccine. That is because the school is likely mandating a vaccination as a condition of student enrollment or in-person attendance, not on employment, even though you may be employed.

[1] Hess, Abigail Johnson. “Many Colleges Will Require the Covid Vaccine-Here Are Some of the Challenges Ahead.” CNBC, CNBC LLC., 12 Apr. 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/04/12/colleges-will-require-the-covid-vaccinethese-are-the-challenges-ahead.html.

[2] Fisher, Daniel. “Employers, Colleges Not Likely Liable for COVID Vaccination Side Effects.” Legal Newsline, Legal Newsline, 30 Apr. 2021, legalnewsline.com/stories/593863662-employers-colleges-not-likely-liable-for-covid-vaccination-side-effects.

[3] Hess, Abigail Johnson. “Many Colleges Will Require the Covid Vaccine-Here Are Some of the Challenges Ahead.” CNBC, CNBC LLC., 12 Apr. 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/04/12/colleges-will-require-the-covid-vaccinethese-are-the-challenges-ahead.html.

[4] Anonymous. “How to Handle an Employee’s Request for a Medical or Religious Accommodation to a Vaccine Requirement.” SHRM, SHRM, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/how-to-guides/pages/how-to-handle-an-employees-request-for-an-accommodation-to-a-vaccine-requirement-covid19-coronavirus.aspx.

[5] Rose, Beth S., and R. Michael Riecken. “The PREP Act: Expanding Immunity Against COVID-19 Liabilities.” New Jersey Law Journal, ALM Media Properties, LLC., 9 Apr. 2021, www.law.com/njlawjournal/2021/04/09/the-prep-act-expanding-immunity-against-covid-19-liabilities/?slreturn=20210511163606.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Anonymous. “Willful Misconduct Law and Legal Definition.” USLegal, Inc., AirSlate Legal Forms, Inc., definitions.uslegal.com/w/willful-misconduct/.

[8] Anonymous. “PREP Act Q&As.” Public Health Emergency, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 13 Jan. 2021, www.phe.gov/Preparedness/legal/prepact/Pages/prepqa.aspx.

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