Former FDA Official: Courts Right to Find COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 3, 2021 Updated: December 3, 2021

A former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official says COVID-19 vaccine mandates make little sense and that courts ruled correctly in recently blocking several mandates.

Rik Mehta spent time as a deputy division director and a consumer safety officer in the FDA during the Obama administration. He’s also worked for Pfizer, one of the three companies whose COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for use in the United States, and was a Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey in the 2020 election.

Mehta told NTD Television that the mandates are an example of government overreach.

“What’s going on right now is what I call unprecedented, unethical, and unconstitutional,” he said.

President Joe Biden and his administration have issued a flurry of mandates in recent months after their failure to fulfill Biden’s campaign promise to “shut down the virus” that causes COVID-19.

Federal workers, federal contractors, healthcare workers, and military members are among those required to get shots.

Three of the mandates, though, are on hold nationwide or in multiple states after courts said they appeared to go beyond the power prescribed by Congress to the executive branch.

“The government defendants do not have the authority to implement the CMS Mandate,” U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ruled last week, blocking the mandate for healthcare workers, which was issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no,” U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove wrote in another blow to the Biden administration.

“We’re seeing that they continue to suffer loss after loss in the courts,” Mehta said. “I think the court systems are starting to see that even the Biden administration is tripping over their own two feet, and aren’t providing the right facts and evidence to effectuate these mandates.”

The former FDA official questioned the science of mandates, particularly in light of evidence showing the effectiveness of vaccines against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infection drops significantly the longer time passes from when a person is vaccinated.

The effectiveness drops below the 50 percent barrier after six months for two of the three vaccines used in the United States, one study indicated.

If vaccine mandates worked, then airline passengers would be forced to get a jab to fly, Mehta said.

“How does it make sense that if you really believe that you have to mandate vaccines that if you’re in an airplane with 100 strangers, that you don’t need to be vaccinated, and yet when you go into the workplace where there’s a lot of sprawl and spread—notwithstanding that many people work from home—and you try to impose vaccine mandates?” Mehta said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Biden administration officials have kept open the option of mandating vaccination to fly.

Asked why such a requirement isn’t already in place, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told NBC’s “Meet the Press” last month that “we found other strategies are highly effective, including masks and those protections.”

“If that’s the case and masks work in planes, then why do you need to impose vaccine mandates?” Mehta responded.