Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Audrey Anderson provided insight on how full COVID-19 vaccine approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could impact vaccine mandates at colleges and universities this fall. Until recently, all COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA on an emergency use authorization basis; on August 23, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.

Many colleges and universities had waited to mandate vaccines for students until full FDA approval. “It’s more of a kind of policy objection than a legal barrier,” said Audrey. “And that is, ‘How can you make me put this in my body when it’s not even approved by the Food and Drug Administration?’ This will take away one obstacle in making it mandatory.”

However, some states have banned vaccine mandates altogether and the FDA status is not expected to change perspective. “They see it as a question of individual rights, of individual bodily integrity,” Audrey said. “A change by the FDA really doesn’t matter for them.”

The full article, “Would Full FDA Approval of Coronavirus Vaccines Alter Colleges’ Fall Plans?,” was published by Higher Ed Dive on August 20 and is available online.