State and Federal Authority to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination [Updated May 17, 2022]   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Summary: "This report provides an overview of state and federal authority to mandate vaccination. The first part of the report provides background on state and local authority to mandate vaccination under the states' general police power. It discusses the Supreme Court's long-standing recognition of state and local authority to mandate vaccination as an exercise of their police power, and modern courts' analyses of more recent challenges to state vaccination mandates based on the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause. The report then analyzes the Supreme Court's evolving free exercise jurisprudence and the questions it raises regarding whether and when governments must provide for or grant religious exemptions to vaccination requirements. It then looks at how courts have addressed challenges to COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] vaccination requirements imposed by states and state entities. The second part of the report provides an overview of federal authority to mandate vaccination. It discusses several sources of existing federal statutory authority that could serve, or have been invoked, as the basis for federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates. [...] This part also reviews the extent of Congress's constitutional authority under the Constitution's Spending and Commerce Clauses to mandate vaccination. The report concludes with a brief discussion of a legal issue specific to COVID-19 vaccination mandates, particularly before FDA's licensure of Comirnaty. Namely, it reviews how courts have addressed some litigants' argument that the Emergency Use Authorization status of COVID-19 vaccines preclude entities from mandating COVID-19 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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