THERE was an initial freeze on Covid vaccine mandates in the United States.
However, a decision by a court has reinstated the vaccine mandates.
Which states have a Covid vaccine mandate?
As news reports of the Omicron Covid variant rapidly spread across the United States, the Biden administration is seeking Covid vaccine mandates across the country.
On 17 December 2021, a ruling by the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati lifted the Fifth Circuit Court's injunction that blocked a mandate by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA mandated employers to either vaccinate or require weekly Covid testing for businesses with at least 100 workers.
By January 10, 2022, every state within the US will be expected to comply with this vaccine mandate.
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In the ruling permitting the vaccine mandate, the Sixth Circuit stated: "The emergency rule is an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus that has killed over 800,000 people in the United States, brought our healthcare system to its knees, forced businesses to shut down for months on end, and cost hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs”.
How have states and businesses responded?
In reaction to the lifting of the hold on the vaccine mandate by OSHA, some businesses, 27 Republican-led states, some religious groups, and some national associations have expressed their displeasure with the Covid vaccine mandate that applies to employers with 100 or more employees.
These groups are requesting for employers to not require their workers to either get vaccinated or face weekly testing for Covid.
What authority does the OSHA have to issue a mandate?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, often referred to as OSHA, is an office within President Joe Biden’s Department of Labor.
OSHA implemented the constitutional mandate under the emergency authority established by Congress to issue such Covid vaccine mandates.
This agency oversees workplace safety, and can determine measures to protect workers from grave danger.
Since the White House has repeatedly stated that Covid falls within the category of posing grave danger to workers due to the overwhelming death toll from the pandemic and the high transmission rates, OSHA has the authority to issue a vaccine mandate.
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