The Daily Beast  |  January 13, 2022

The Supreme Court has blocked the vaccine mandate implemented by the Biden administration that required employees of large private companies to be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19, arguing that the deadly virus is largely “not an occupational hazard.” In a split decision handed down Thursday, the court said the federal government may not enforce such a rule in the private sector, but will allow a vaccine mandate for health care workers and members of the military. In its ruling, the court’s conservative majority said the administration had exceeded its statutory authority with regard to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its power over businesses. “Without a wide-reaching federal mandate, it’s unlikely the national vaccination rate of just over 60 percent will improve,” Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, said in an emailed statement. “We are way behind our peer nations. This Supreme Court’s decision makes it hard to see how we will effectively combat Omicron, and future COVID variants.”

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