Supreme Court stops COVID-19 vaccine rule for US businesses

National

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)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Thursday morning the Supreme Court stopped Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule for businesses larger than 100 employees. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) asked employees at large businesses to either get a vaccine or get tested regularly and wear a mask on the job. 

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The court wrote: “The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not conferred upon it. At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have.”

The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, called the Supreme Court’s decision “a significant victory for employers.”

President Joe Biden said he was “disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law.”

Last year in 2021 President Biden asked businesses to institute their own vaccination requirements and said about a third of Fortune companies did so. 

Although the court will not be moving forward with OHSA’s vaccine and test requirements, they will be moving forward with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S.

The mandate covers almost all health care workers in the country, including providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding with religious or medical exemptions. 

The American Health Care Association (AHCA), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country released a statement regarding the healthcare vaccine mandate saying they respect the recent ruling but remain concerned. 

“Long term care providers have been relentless in encouraging staff to get vaccinated, and we have made considerable progress with 83 percent of nursing home staff now fully vaccinated. However, rampant misinformation has sowed doubt and concern among many on the frontlines. We must collectively address the root cause of vaccine hesitancy rather than penalize providers who are making valiant efforts.”

-The American Health Care Association (AHCA)

The court’s recent orders came during an increase in coronavirus cases caused by the omicron variant.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

More than 208 million Americans are fully vaccinated, and more than a third of those have received booster shots, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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