The COVID-19 pandemic has created heightened turmoil for at-risk populations, solidified laws allowing the use of mask mandates, raised legal issues surrounding vaccine mandates, and presented the new issue of a vaccine passport. As a nation, we have failed to implement vaccination schemes that properly protect vulnerable populations. Specifically, the homeless population has been overlooked, creating an additional layer of hardship, and contributing to greater community spread. This article contemplates the various methods by which an equitable vaccination scheme could have been achieved and the division of powers that created complications.
Additionally, the legality of vaccine mandates is discussed, and shows how our case law lays a foundation that would make a vaccine mandate legal. There are a multitude of vaccines already required for entry into school and other events. While the relatively low fatality rate of COVID-19 has been the source of backlash, this article shows how sufficient risk to an individual is not synonymous to sufficient risk to the community. Finally, the novel implications of vaccine passports are presented, and possible treatments of this issue in court are contemplated.
Recommended citation: Dana B. Taschner & Ashley Atwood, COVID-19: Legal Framework for Vaccine Distributions and Mandates, 24 SMU Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 65 (2021)