Americans With Disabilities Act CAN protect the unvaccinated: Here’s why

Most experts have concluded that vaccine status is not protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, the 1990 law which was designed to protect the civil rights of the disabled “to fully participate in all aspects of society.”

But not so fast.

Clearly the portion of the population which has refused COVID-19 vaccination is in the process of being locked out of participation in many aspects of society.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced last week that members of the military will have to be vaccinated by September. Cities like New York are preventing people from eating at restaurants without a vaccine passport. Students will be locked out of their universities this fall, and employees will be fired from their jobs for refusing the vaccine.

So it is self-evident that the unvaccinated are being discriminated against, but experts say they are not covered by the ADA legislation because they are not really disabled. But is that true? Let’s look at the “definition of disability,” as it appears in the actual law.

“The term “disability” means, with respect to an individual:

      • (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
      • (B) a record of such an impairment; or 
      • (C) being regarded as having such an impairment.”

The last part of the definition is the key. The door is open for lawsuits that contend that being unvaccinated is “regarded as having … an impairment.”

But skeptics will argue that being unvaccinated does not “substantially limit” a “major life activity” as described in Clause A above, and therefore it is not really an impairment.

Fortunately, the authors of the Americans With Disabilities Act recognized that not every disability could be circumscribed by a standard definition. What mattered more than the type of disability was the fact of the discrimination. Therefore, the authors mandated that:

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“An individual meets the requirement of ‘being regarded as having such an impairment’ if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.”

Notice that the ADA protects an individual who is discriminated against not just because of an actual physical or mental impairment, but also because of a perceived impairment. The very actions being taken against the unvaccinated are proof that they are regarded as being impaired, that they are somehow weakened, imperfect or incompetent members of society.  

Therefore, when action is taken against the unvaccinated to discriminate against them in employment, use of public services or in public accommodations solely because they are perceived to be impaired, there has been a violation of the ADA. It’s not hypothetical. It’s in black and white in the law itself. Victims do NOT have to actually suffer an impairment that limits a major life activity in order to be covered by the law.

Civil rights attorneys need to take up the banner, and fight to protect the rights of Americans to control their own bodies. Because if the government can make people violate their own bodies, they can make us do anything.


Heartland Diary is solely operated by Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. My new book is “What Matters Most: God, Country, Family and Friends” and is a collection of personal essays that transcend politics. The title says it all. My earlier books in the Heartland Diary series include “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution,”  “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” and the “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” As an Amazon Associate, I may earn referral fees for qualifying purchases through links on my website. If you enjoy reading my commentary, I hope you will SUBSCRIBE to by leaving your email address on the home page.

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5 Replies to “Americans With Disabilities Act CAN protect the unvaccinated: Here’s why”

  1. A difficult subject to be sure. One only has to have had a severe case of the seasonal flu to appreciate
    the blessings of seasonal vaccines. During my working 50’s, I had 2 separate, miserable 3 week bouts of the flu & , every afterward, never flinched at getting “jabbed” each autumn with no side affects and, best of all, no more flu!!!
    At Trump’s request a vaccine to combat what was then known about COVID 19 was produced by Pfizer immunologists who gathered their expertise & miraculously came up with something that has proven to work for most people who look on it as a Godsend. Those who sneer at His blessings are teetering on dangerous ground!!!
    No one likes government overreach & one can understand the refusal of those with severe disabilities in making the choice that is right for them, but using the Disabilities Act as just another excuse to avoid being “jabbed” is cowardly & smacks of idiocy and ignorance.

    1. We have to disagree on this one. I propose that allowing the government to order your medical care “is cowardly & smacks of idiocy and ignorance.” The words of Franklin are appropriate: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  2. I’m afraid even Franklin would have had to eat those words, Frank, because history tells us that his and his common law wife Deborah’s 4 year old son, Francis, died of smallpox in 1736. It seems that, prior to that, Ben wanted to protect their son by having him inoculated (yes, they had inoculations even then) and his wife stubbornly refused to allow it. Francis’ tragic death caused a serious estrangement in their marriage. Sadly, he was frolicking abroad in Great Britain when Deborah died of a stroke in 1774 and he didn’t return until 1775.

  3. I tend to love/hate the word Precedent…
    It can open a door wider and wider …
    Those who would take advantage of
    that wide open door includes Govt.officials…
    With the mystery of Science advancements
    what if it is determined that cloning Horses,
    humans and donkeys together has serious benefits…..
    What if GOVT. mandates this be done ?? ,
    The question of Fetal Tissue Vaxx remains….. .
    I dont know about anyone else,but if science
    can create and Govt. mandate.,Per the example above
    We could all become a horses ass ??


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