As you all know, on July 31st the UC Office of the President issued an executive order mandating that all students, faculty and employees get a flu vaccine in order to lessen the chances of being infected with COVID-19 or lessening the symptoms if you get it, or reducing the chance of death, or maybe if you die, increasing your chances you’ll go up and not down.
If you haven’t seen the Executive Order, here it is:
My view is that right now, there is about the same level of evidence for all four possibilities, though admittedly, many public health officials are advocating for the flu vaccine because of a hoped-for but as yet unproven benefit, which no doubt is driving the vaccine concerned and many others crazy.
But you know what? I actually think it’s a good thing. For years I’ve been saying that it is easy for the majority of the adult public to be in favor of mandatory vaccines because they are not the ones being forced to take them. But this is different and I think there is a different public reaction brewing because, for the first time in over a hundred years, there is a statewide mandate for beyond public school (meaning k-12) students, AND TEACHERS AND STAFF.
I think that there are probably hundreds if not thousands of UC staff who don’t like the mandate and will not comply. And FYI: in California, it is very difficult to terminate an employee, and even harder to terminate tenured staff. I suspect there is going to a spate of non-compliance if the mandate is allowed to go into effect on November 1, 2020. There will be chaos and widespread non-complianace, as there should be.
But will it go into effect?
Anyone who follows these posts knows that I am very conservative when it comes to lawsuits in the vaccine area. I generally don’t believe in them, or at least the broad constitutional or religious challenges to vaccine mandates. I was against all the SB 277 lawsuits and predicted they would all fail miserably and they did. I also said SB 276 wouldn’t be challenged because there was nothing to challenge, and so far it hasn’t been challenged (so far as I know). But this is different for many reasons, and I think the reaction from the public will be different too.
Here are my two predictions:
1. There will be lawsuits challenging it, and I will be filing one of them on behalf of students, faculty, and/or staff.
2. The Executive Order in its current form will not go into effect on November 1, 2020. It will be rescinded, modified or rejected by the courts. Why? There are just too many affected university students, professors and staff who will rise up against this order for the UC administration and the courts to ignore their concerns about the danger to them from this order. As suggested, I and other attorneys around the state (and around the country) are gearing up for this fight, but there will also be other non-lawsuit public actions/protests against the order, I predict.
If you are part of the UC community and have a medical reason why you don’t want to take the flu vaccine and want to be involved in the case, shoot me an email.
You can expect me to have more to say about this issue and the lawsuits. Stay Tuned!
Rick Jaffe, Esq.