The New York State Bar Association’s Health Law Section Task Force on COVID-19 has released a series of resolutions related to the pandemic. One of the resolutions, copied below, recommends that the state consider the possibility of enacting a vaccine mandate.

“To protect the public’s health, it would be useful to provide guidance, consistent with existing law or a state emergency health powers act as proposed in Resolution #1, to assist state officials and state and local public health authorities should it be necessary for the state to consider the possibility of enacting a vaccine mandate. A vaccine must not only be safe and efficacious; it must be publicly perceived as safe and efficacious. Diverse populations, including people of color, older adults, women, and other marginalized groups, must be represented in clinical trialsThe trials also must follow rigorous protocols that will establish a vaccine’s safety and efficacy through expert consensus of the medical and scientific communities.”

The State Bar frequently offers guidance to the state on policy issues. But as the 2019 public dialog around a mandatory measles vaccine in public schools has shown, this is a particularly touchy subject to wade into.

Mary Beth Morrissey, chair of the New York State Bar’s Health Law Section Task Force on COVID-19, told Capital Tonight that the work the Bar Association is doing on the subject reflects the ambivalence some in the public have toward vaccinations.

“The second resolution is aiming to ensure protections for all vulnerable persons, but especially for people in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted,” Morrissey said.

You can find the entire Bar Association report here.