On Friday, a federal appeals court in the United States reinstated an authorization from the Biden administration for large companies to request antiviral vaccines from their employees, after the procedure was suspended in court in November.
President Joe Biden had set a January 4 deadline for companies with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a rule the administration said would affect more than two-thirds of the nation’s workforce.
The ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns an earlier suspension, allowing the vaccine order to move forward, although the order is likely to go to the Supreme Court.
Judge Jane Strench did not rule on the final merit of the order, but did rule that it could be considered valid to protect American workers from the coronavirus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the United States, causing more than 800,000 lives to be lost, closing workplaces and jobs across the country, and threatening our economy,” he said.
Therefore, the previous court order was not legal, Strnch said.
The ruling contrasts with a decision issued last month by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which criticized the mandate as “too broad.”
The conflicting rulings between the two courts sparked a potential Supreme Court appeal to the case’s petitioners, which include five Republican-majority states, as well as several private companies and religious groups.
Vaccine mandates have a long history in the United States, but have generally been established by cities or states.
The issue in this case is the constitutionality of an American president initiating such a broad term at the national level.
“Vaccination is the best way out of this epidemic,” Biden said of the matter.
“Companies have more power than ever to accelerate our journey out of this pandemic, save lives, and protect our economic recovery.”
Mandates previously announced by many large employers have had impressive results.
As of Friday night, nearly 85% of American adults, and 72.5% of the total population, had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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