The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good." Mask and vaccine mandates, therefore, are, under some circumstances, constitutional.
Dozens of studies examining the effects of vaccine mandates have been published over the last year. A pre-print review of this literature has found that requiring COVID-19 vaccination may carry significant costs, including a deepening distrust of public health authorities and greater vaccine hesitancy.
On September 9th, President Biden announced his three-pronged vaccine mandate. The first two, addressing workers employed by the federal government and employees of hospitals and health care facilities funded by the federal government, are legal no-brainers such that even Libertarians aren’t putting up much of a fight. It’s the third prong that gives pause.
California just paused its plans for a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate. There wasn't an ounce of scientific evidence to support this proposal and enough opposition to halt the legislation, at least until after the upcoming elections. There's an important lesson here for policymakers.