Biden Administration Repeals Workplace Vaccine Mandate

Biden Administration Repeals Workplace Vaccine Mandate

A person attends a march in opposition to Covid-19 mandates on the National Mall in Washington, DC, US (Image: Reuters)

The Biden administration regretted the repeal of the mandate and said that the mandate was ‘grounded squarely in both science and the law’

  • Last Updated:January 26, 2022, 08:48 IST

The US Labour Department on Tuesday announced that it is withdrawing the mandate which required major employers to be vaccinated or regularly tested, according to a report by news agency The New York Times.

The US Supreme Court earlier blocked the implementation of the rule stating that the Labour Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate encroached significantly into the lives and health of many employees. The six conservative judges of the Supreme Court who overruled the Biden administration’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for businesses with 100 employees or more.

The US Supreme Court in its judgement said that OSHA did not have the authority to ask workers to be vaccinated for coronavirus or tested weekly and termed the approach by the Biden administration as a ‘blunt’ instrument. Vaccine mandates in the US as well as in many Western nations have become a strong political issue with its detractors claiming that the pandemic is used as a tool to hurt people’s universal basic rights related to expression, speech, movement and privacy. The mandate would have covered at least 80 million employees in the US.

“OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by Covid-19 in the workplace,” the department said in a statement after the withdrawal of the mandate.

In a minor win for the Biden administration, the US Supreme Court allowed the Biden administration to proceed further with the mandate which requires health care workers employed in facilities that receive federal money to be fully vaccinated. The mandate received support from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh who after joining the liberal justices voted 5-4 in favour of the mandate.

The liberal justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan after the overturning of the mandate for large employers said that the court was hindering ‘the federal government’s ability to counter the unparalleled threat that Covid-19’ poses to workers in the United States.

The Biden administration thanked the US Supreme Court for ruling in favour of the health care workers vaccination mandate case but expressed dissatisfaction over the overturning of the large employer vaccination mandate case.

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