State and Federal Authority to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination [Updated January 18, 2022]   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Summary: "The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines licensed or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are a critical tool to reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19. FDA initially authorized the vaccines, between December 2020 and February 2021, under Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), a regulatory pathway that allows certain medical products to be made available in the market prior to full FDA approval under specified circumstances, including during a public health emergency. In August 2021, FDA licensed the first COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer's Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older, after determining that the vaccine, for the licensed use, meets the standards for safety, purity, and potency (i.e., effectiveness) under the Public Health Service Act. Given the data supporting the safety and efficacy of the licensed and authorized COVID-19 vaccines, many public health experts view promoting high COVID-19 vaccination rates--along with continued engagement in community mitigation activities that prevent transmission, such as mask wearing in certain settings--as key components of the United States' pandemic response. [...] This report provides an overview of state and federal authority to mandate vaccination."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R46745
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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