Surgeon General Jerome Adams
© Michael Reynolds/AP
Surgeon General Jerome Adams
Debates over whether an employer can mandate a COVID-19 vaccine once offices reopen continue to swirl as the U.S. waits to start vaccinating non-priority individuals in the spring of 2021. While current guidance shows it is possible for employers to do so, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams doesn't recommend it.

"Right now, we are not recommending that anyone mandate a vaccine," Adams said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. He explained that it is because the vaccine is still not fully approved, but the company expects fll licensure by the first half of 2021.

"This vaccine hasn't been fully approved yet. It's been authorized. And that means that scientists, the FDA, and independent scientists feel that the benefit far outweighs the risk," he said, explaining the elements of an emergency use authorization.

But with a significant anti-vaccination movement in place around the country, and many still unsure about severe vaccine side effects, it's likely a mandate could face pushback. Even with the most recent poll, by Kaiser Family Foundation, showing 71% of Americans are willing to take a vaccine, internet searches show concern remains.

According to NetBase Quid, a consumer and marketing intelligence platform, in the past week, social media posts remain split amid the positive news about a vaccine authorization. And on Tuesday, the platform showed posts skewed negative with terms like "not effective," "autism," "Bell's Palsy," "sterilization," "known risk" and "not approved by the FDA." Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General Adams said it's because many people in this country haven't experienced first-hand what vaccines can do.
"One of the challenges is that vaccines are victims of their own success. Very few of your viewers know anyone who's ever been hospitalized for measles. ... Almost none of your viewers know someone who's been on a ventilator because they had polio and needed to be in what was called an iron lung. And so people don't see the benefits of vaccines. They only hear about the potential downsides."
That being said, some administration officials, like Adams, President Donald Trump and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci have all said they are willing to take the vaccine to boost confidence. But, they have all added, only when the time is appropriate.

Adams explained that because supplies are so limited, anyone who is not a high priority that gets the vaccine would be taking a dose away from someone more in need. But he encouraged Americans to start getting comfortable with the idea of taking the vaccine.

"Understand that health is good for the economy, masks mean business and vaccinations mean a quicker return to normalcy," Adams said.