COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in the United States: a social justice policy

K. Hagan, R. Forman, Elias Mossialos, Paul Ndebele, Adnan A. Hyder, Khurram Nasir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Introduction: Vaccination is the most effective strategy to mitigating COVID-19 and restoring societal function. As the pandemic evolves with no certainty of a herd immunity threshold, universal vaccination of at-risk populations is desirable. However, vaccine hesitancy threatens the return to normalcy, and healthcare workers (HCWs) must embrace their ambassadorial role of shoring up vaccine confidence. Unfortunately, voluntary vaccination has been suboptimal among HCWs in the United States, a priority group for whom immunization is essential for maintaining health system capacity and the safety of high-risk patients in their care. Consequently, some health systems have implemented mandates to improve compliance. Areas covered: This article discusses the ethical and practical considerations of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for HCWs utilizing some components of the World Health Organization’s framework and the unique context of a pandemic with evolving infection dynamics. Expert opinion: COVID-19 vaccine mandates for universal immunization of HCWs raise ethical and practical debates about their appropriateness, especially when the vaccines are pending full approval in most jurisdictions. Given the superiority of the vaccines to safety and testing protocols and their favorable safety profile, we encourage health systems to adopt vaccination mandates through participatory processes that address the concerns of stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Review of Vaccines
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • health personnel
  • mandatory program
  • public health
  • vaccination
  • Policy
  • Health Personnel/legislation & jurisprudence
  • Social Justice
  • Humans
  • United States/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Vaccination/legislation & jurisprudence
  • COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology


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