Supreme Court halts COVID-19 vaccine rule for US businesses; allows mandate for health care workers

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A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children’s hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job.

At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S.

Missouri was the first state to file suit against the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s private employer mandate as well as the mandate for health care workers.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt released a statement after the ruling came down:

I’m proud to have delivered this critical decision for Missourians and Americans, and to hand the Biden Administration its biggest loss to date. While we’re disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling on our lawsuit against the health care worker vaccine mandate, that fight is far from over, and the case is still ongoing. We’re committed to ensuring that rural hospitals and nursing homes continue to stay open and provide critical care to Missourians, and we will not give up this fight.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt

The court’s orders Thursday during a spike in coronavirus cases was a mixed bag for the administration’s efforts to boost the vaccination rate among Americans.

The court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected.

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