COVID vaccine mandate blocked by Supreme Court: Here’s the latest news
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thePresident Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate on Thursday – three days after it was scheduled to take effect – with a 6-3 vote. The mandate required businesses with 100 or more employees to either get fully vaccinated or provide a COVID-19 test negative results weekly, with a grace period to allow for compliance. The Supreme Court, however, upheld the mandate of health care workers.
“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s requirement for healthcare workers to be vaccinated will save the lives of patients, as well as the lives of doctors, nurses and others who work in healthcare facilities,” said Jen. PSAKI during a press briefing after the judgment. It will cover 17 million healthcare workers.
The federal vaccine requirement is designed to curb the spike in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths seen in recent months, including those caused by theand the spread throughout the country.
Unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breakthrough cases of COVID-19, which occur when vaccinated people contract the disease, are far less lethal but can still produce long-term effects, including “.”
We will inform you of the latest news on the vaccine mandate and information on obtaining , and . Plus: how to get and one .
What’s going on with the vaccine mandate?
The Supreme Court blocked the mandate that began on January 10 for large companies, but it remains in effect for health care workers. It is not up to individual companies to make the decision to require employees to be fully vaccinated (see below).
The health care mandate requires all employees of hospitals or other medical facilities who receive Medicare or Medicaid payments from the government to be fully immunized.
The federal government already allows private companies to require vaccinations
Even before Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, federal law allowed U.S. employers to require their employees to be vaccinated during pandemics. The administration’s new rule could give employers the option to charge unvaccinated employees for weekly testing, Bloomberg Law reported. At the same time, because the order is federally mandated, the Department of Labor can require employers to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated and paid sick time to recover from any side effects. .
“We will protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated colleagues,” Biden said in September after unveiling the mandate.
The Americans with Disabilities Act exempts some people from mandatory vaccinations
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to workers with medical conditions that would prevent them from getting vaccinated. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recognizesas a disability under the ADA.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, these civil rights protections cannot be waived, even in an emergency.
Does civil rights law apply to people who oppose vaccines on religious grounds?
Currently, decisions to block the vaccination mandate for workers due to religious beliefs have been made on a case-by-case basis. For example, on January 3, a federal judge blocked a Navy vaccination warrant for those seeking an exemption for religious reasons.
But even within religious groups, there are mixed messages: Pope Francis is encouraging Catholics to get vaccinated, but the Reverend Timothy Broglio, archbishop of the US Armed Forces, has said Catholic troops can refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. 19 if he violates their conscience.
In October, the Supreme Court declined to block Maine’s vaccination mandate, which provides no religious exemptions.
The following month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld New York State’s vaccine requirement, which also does not include religious exemptions. The state regulation had been the subject of a lawsuit by healthcare workers claiming it violated their First Amendment rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Who opposes vaccination mandates?
In November, Senate Republicans led by Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, saying they rejected all efforts to implement and enforce a vaccine mandate. COVID-19.
“We agree that countless Americans have benefited from the protection afforded by COVID-19 vaccines,” the letter read in part. “Nevertheless, the decision to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is a very personal decision that should never be imposed on individuals by the federal government.”
Some unions – particularly those representing police, fire and rescue workers – have also pushed back on vaccine requirements.
Even some Google employees have opposed large-scale vaccination mandates: A manifesto viewed by CNBC and signed by more than 600 workers at the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech giant called on employees to “oppose the mandate on principle”.
However, few mainstream American religions oppose vaccination. The main exceptions are the Church of Christ, Scientist and the Dutch Reformed Church.
What happens if you object to a vaccine required by your employer?
Just because you have a valid medical disability or a theological objection to getting a coronavirus vaccine doesn’t mean your employer has to let you continue working under the same conditions you’ve been used to. Companies are required to make “reasonable accommodations”, which could include allowing the employee to work remotely or take time off.
If you do not have an ADA-recognized medical condition and cannot convince authorities of valid religious grounds to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, your employer has the right to terminate your employment. And hisbecause you were fired “for cause”.
Some companies are also considering imposing fines on unvaccinated workers who refuse to be vaccinated. This could include raising health care costs, suspending raises, and restricting access to workplace amenities. For example, the NBA says it won’t pay unvaccinated players who miss games.
1905 Supreme Court case allows employers to require vaccines
There are precedents for large-scale vaccination requirements in US law. In 1901, a deadly smallpox epidemic in New England prompted local governments to order mandatory vaccinations for area residents. However, some residents objected and one of them took the case to the Supreme Court.
In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the high court determined that the government could impose “reasonable regulations”, such as a vaccine requirement during a pandemic, to protect the safety of the general public.
This case forms the basis of guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which made it clear that employers can make similar demands of their workers.
How likely is your employer to require a COVID-19 vaccine?
Any company can require workers to get vaccinated, even if it’s not a federal mandate. Learn moreagainst the coronavirus.
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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.