COVID-19 vaccine

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The Biden administration will not proceed with enforcing its vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees given a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The administration had planned on putting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in charge of administering the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. While a statement on the OSHA website proclaims that it “remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies,” the agency agreed it would suspend enforcement of the emergency temporary standard (ETS) that would have required many U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated or face regular testing. However, OSHA could change course in the event of a further court order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will hear the challenge to the OSHA-specific vaccine mandate.

For the time being, however, OSHA has suspended activities related to implementing and enforcing the ETS, pending future developments in the litigation.

The suspension of OSHA’s enforcement of the ETS has no bearing on a rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requiring many healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, 2022.

President Biden had proposed the vaccine mandates in September.