August 1st, 2021– Last week several media outlets covered a memo the Department of Justice (DOJ) released on July 6th, 2021 in regards to vaccine mandates. Their memo determined whether Section 564 of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibited entities from mandating vaccines which are under “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA).
What the DOJ Said:
- “…section 564 of the FDCA does not prohibit public or private entities from imposing vaccination requirements, even when the only vaccines available are those authorized under EUAs.: -The DOJ
Last week several media outlets covered the DOJ, responding to an inquiry made by the Deputy Counsel to the President. The Memorandum was the DOJ’s opinion on whether section 564 of the FDCA prohibited entities from making vaccine mandates for vaccines which are authorized under EUA .
The question at hand was:
“whether the “option to accept or refuse” condition in section 564 prohibits entities from imposing such vaccination requirements while the only available vaccines for COVID-19 remain subject to EUAs.”
The DOJ determined the section 564 of the FDCA does not prohibit public or private entities from imposing vaccine mandates.
Subsequently, the DOJ’s opinion was misrepresented by media outlets, who made claims such as:
“Federal law doesn’t prohibit Covid-19 vaccine requirements, Justice Department says” -Reported CNN
“DOJ declares vaccine mandates legal” -Read one Fox News Headline
“DOJ says federal law doesn’t bar businesses, agencies from mandating Covid vaccines” -Read a Headline from Politico
The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, these headlines would lead the reader to believe that the DOJ said no law prohibits employers from mandating vaccines. Which is not what was stated.
Worse still, the articles themselves are just as misleading.
Even The Content of the Articles Misrepresent the DOJ’s Statements….
For example, in the article by Fox 5, the author misrepresents a statement from the DOJ’s memo and makes it appear as if the DOJ said “no law can prohibit “public or private entities from imposing vaccine requirements,”.
But the text from the DOJ’s memo clearly states that it is refereeing to Section 564 of the FDCA, not federal law at large.
The Bottom Line: The DOJ did NOT Declare “vaccine mandates legal”
The Statement by the DOJ was strictly limited to the question of whether Section 564 of the FDCA prohibited a mandate for vaccines permitted under EUA. Which they determined it did not.
The DOJ’s statement did not by any means evaluate all federal laws.
Whether these misleading headlines were done intentionally, or as an act of laziness on part of the authors has yet to be determined. But what is clear, is that these headlines and even the content of the articles themselves greatly misconstrue what is actually being stated by the DOJ.
Such misrepresentations could lead one inaccurately perceive the government’s role in society. I am tempted to say that the headlines are intentionally misleading. In order to cultivate a public opinion of the government, and create an appearance of authority where none actually exists. Even the DOJ’s opinion of Section 564 is not the end all be all of a laws meaning.