US Court Reinstates Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate For Employees

On Thursday, a US appeals court panel reinstated President Biden’s executive order mandating Covid-19 vaccines for federal civilian employees.

A 2-1 vote by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals saw the removal of an injunction issued by a Texas judge in January that had blocked enforcement of the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees. 

Last September, the US President had said he would require approximately 3.5 million government employees to receive their vaccinations against coronavirus by November 22, with the exception of those with valid medical and religious reasons for not doing so. Failing to get vaccinated, employees would face discipline or lose their jobs altogether. 

The Biden administration said that the federal trial court had no power to hear the dispute, claiming that workers were required to raise any issues through the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA). However, the panel majority said the plaintiffs “seek to circumvent the CSRA’s exclusive review scheme.” 

According to the US government, over 93% of federal employees have now had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while approximately 98% have been vaccinated or are seeking medical or religious exemption.  

Back in January, Biden’s Covid-19 vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses was blocked by the US Supreme Court, though it allowed a separate federal vaccine mandate for healthcare providers

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