Can Airlines Require You To Get the COVID Vaccine?

Recorded on January 13, 2021.

Is it legal for airlines or the government to make people get the COVID vaccine in order to travel? Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN discussing the issue.

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Joe: 106.7 WIZN. Journey with “Separate Ways,” heard The Doors before that. Joe Vega taking you through your Wednesday Rocking Ride Home. And I’ve got Paul Harding on the phone right now from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Paul.

Paul: Hey, how you doing, Joe?

Joe: I am doing well. Thanks for taking my phone call. So got a question for you, because I’m thinking about doing some traveling. And I’ve heard these rumors, of course, now that the COVID vaccine is out and of course, traveling right now is not a great idea, obviously, but when we do get around to making some plans and going somewhere, and obviously we’re gonna have to take COVID into account. And there’s rumors that the airlines or the government may make it mandatory to get the COVID vaccine. In fact, a number of international airlines, Australia’s Qantas Airlines, and South Korea, Korean Air, for instance, have both spoken recently about requiring proof of vaccination to get on an international flight, and Delta’s CEO said something very similar recently. So I guess my question is, is that legal? Can they make people get the COVID vaccine to travel?

Paul: This is one of these hot button issues. You know, do I have to walk around with my vaccination card to board an airplane to go internationally? And here’s the part that I think people kind of lose track of to some degree is that if you own a restaurant and you don’t want to have Joey Vega…now who would ever think like that?

Joe: No, of course, not.

Paul: But let’s say somebody somewhere said, I do not want Joey Vega at my restaurant, you don’t have to be served, they do not have to serve you. Now, you know, if it’s because of your race or religion or because of your gender, age, that’s a problem.

Joe: Yeah, that’s right.

Paul: But they just don’t want to see, you know, they listen to you all day, they just want to get a piece, they don’t want to hear you.

Joe: That guy is not funny, let’s not let him here.

Paul: Drive away patron, it’s legal, they can do that, private people can do that. So here what we’re probably gonna see is the airlines are looking to see what the federal government wants them to do. I don’t think the federal government wants to issue a law, they may. But if they issue a law that said you have to have a vaccination in order to travel domestically, right? Well, there’ll be lawsuits, there’s gonna be people all over the place. But if the airlines say, “Hey, we’ve chosen to not allow people to fly unless they had a vaccination,” that would be legal, frustrating, that would be…people gonna be all over the board on this. So that’s what I really see happening. I do think this vaccination is gonna play a role certainly in international travel, but my guess is domestic travel for short time.

Joe: Right. So the government is probably not going to be able to do anything about this, but the airlines certainly can?

Paul: Yeah. And, you know what? They get a lot of their money from the government so there’s gonna be, you know, a healthy discussion and maybe even some guidelines that reading between the lines say, “Hey, play ball.” But that’s where I see it going. And then it could be circumvented with proof of tests, you know, the way it’s sort of is now for some travel.

Joe: Sure, yeah, you could do the quarantine thing and all that.

Paul: That’s what I foresee happening.

Joe: Okay. Well, thank you very much for answering that for me. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Thanks for coming on.

Paul: All right, Joe. Talk soon.

Joe: Remember, you can call any of the fine lawyers at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti at any time at 1800 LAW 1010, or go online to All right. Mel Allen is taken over from here. He’s got music from Ozzy, Van Halen, and Eddie Money next.