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US court freezes Biden's vaccine mandate for companies

November 6, 2021

The federal appeals court said it found "grave statutory and constitutional" issues with the rule requiring employees at big companies to be vaccinated against the coronavirus — or tested regularly.

A nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center is inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine
Biden has advocated for COVID-19 vaccine mandates to push unvaccinated adults to get the jabImage: Mark Lenninhan/AFP/Getty Images

A US federal appeals court on Saturday issued a stay on a decision by US President Joe Biden's administration requiring tens of millions of Americans to be either vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID.

Saturday's ruling followed a backlash from conservative Republicans, who had vowed to overturn the rule. At least 27 states filed lawsuits challenging the requirement. 

What did the court say?

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals cited  "grave statutory and constitutional" issues with the vaccine requirement.

Louisiana Attorney General Landry said the action stops President Joe Biden "from moving forward with his unlawful overreach.''

"The president will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the constitution,'' Landry said in a statement.

The 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, said the government must provide an expedited reply to the motion for a permanent injunction Monday, followed by petitioners' reply on Tuesday.

What is Biden's COVID policy for workers?

On Thursday, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set a January 4 deadline for Americans working at medium or large companies to be either vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.

Businesses with at least 100 employees could be hit with a nearly $14,000 (€12,105) fine per violation.

The rule was expected to affect at least 84 million workers across the country. 

In September, the government also ordered all federal workers and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a decision affecting around 2.5 million people.

The Biden administration is also being sued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican and ally of former President Donald Trump, over rules requiring employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated.

fb/nm (Reuters, AFP, AP)