Vaccine Mandates Likely to Pass Legal Muster, Law Professor Says

A COVID-19 vaccination card at a medical clinic.

The Focal Project/CC BY-NC 2.0

A COVID-19 vaccination card at a medical clinic.

With the delta variant spreading in the Bay Area, coronavirus infections have increased sharply. California recently announced that health care workers and state employees must be vaccinated or get tested weekly and wear masks on the job. In late June, San Francisco issued a requirement that city employees and new hires must be vaccinated once available coronavirus vaccines, which currently have emergency use authorization, receive full federal Food and Drug Administration approval. There have already been attempts to challenge vaccine mandates around the nation in court. Dorit Reiss, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law who researches legal considerations around vaccines and vaccine mandates, talked with “Civic” about what employers and governments must weigh when it comes to requiring immunization.

“I used to say that I think if it goes to court there’s a 70% – 30% chance that the court will uphold a mandate. I think it’s higher now. I think there’s probably an 85% chance that the court will uphold employer mandates.”

— Dorit Reiss

A segment from our radio show and podcast, “Civic.” Listen at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 102.5 FM in San Francisco, or online at, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify or Stitcher

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