An appeals court allows Biden’s vaccine mandate for large businesses to take effect

A stock image of a man receiving a vaccination in his arm.

An appeals court on Friday allowed President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate to take effect.
The mandate says large businesses must require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Joe Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large businesses can take effect, the Associated Press reported.

The decision reverses an earlier court ruling that blocked the mandate from taking effect.

The mandate stipulates businesses with 100 employees or more must require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. It would impact about 80 million Americans and is planned to take effect on January 4.

The mandate has faced more than two dozen court challenges brought by some states, businesses, and other groups. Critics argue the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the workplace-safety agency tasked with enforcing the rule, lacks the authority to do so.

But the judge in Friday’s ruling determined the mandate was within the agency’s purview.

“The record establishes that COVID-19 has continued to spread, mutate, kill, and block the safe return of American workers to their jobs. To protect workers, OSHA can and must be able to respond to dangers as they evolve,” Judge Jane B. Stranch wrote in her opinion for Friday’s ruling, The Washington Post reported.

The ruling was made in the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, based in Ohio, and can be appealed to the Supreme Court, according to The Post.

Shortly after the ruling Utah’s attorney general announced plans to appeal the decision.

“Utah and several dozen states intend to seek immediate, emergency relief with the US Supreme Court,” Sean D. Reyes said in a statement. “We remain confident that the ourt will agree that the mandate is unconstitutional federal overreach.”

The mandate is key part of the Biden administration’s efforts to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Friday, about 61% of Americans were fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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