Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Court blocks COVID-19 vaccine mandate for US gov’t workers

Published:Friday | March 24, 2023 | 9:51 AM
President-elect Joe Biden receives his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine from nurse practitioner Tabe Mase at Christiana Hospital in Newark Delaware on December 21, 2020. Biden’s order that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 was blocked Thursday, March 23, 2023, by a federal appeals court. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Joe Biden's order that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 has been blocked by a federal appeals court.

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, in a decision Thursday, rejected arguments that Biden, as the nation's chief executive, has the same authority as the CEO of a private corporation to require that employees be vaccinated.

The ruling from the full appeals court, 16 full-time judges at the time the case was argued, reversed an earlier ruling by a three-judge 5th Circuit panel that had upheld the vaccination requirement.

Judge Andrew Oldham, nominated to the court by then-President Donald Trump, wrote the opinion for a 10-member majority.

The ruling maintains the status quo for federal employee vaccines.

It upholds a preliminary injunction blocking the mandate issued by a federal judge in January 2022.

At that point, the administration said nearly 98% of covered employees had been vaccinated.

And, Oldham noted, with the preliminary injunction arguments done, the case will return to that court for further arguments, when “both sides will have to grapple with the White House's announcement that the COVID emergency will finally end on May 11, 2023.”

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