A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld President Biden’s mandate for all US government workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned a lower court’s ruling and said that Biden’s September mandate requiring federal workers and contractors to get jabbed was legal.
Trump appointee US District Judge Jeffrey Brown had ruled in January that Biden’s executive order overstepped his authority. His ruling took place after the Supreme Court struck down a Biden order that required workers at large private businesses to get vaxxed or tested regularly.
The high court did allow the federal government to mandate vaccinations for most health care workers as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus surged across the country.
White House lawyers successfully argued that the president had the same authority as a CEO of a private company to impose vaccination guidelines on federal workers, and pointed out a dozen other federal judges had declined to overturn Biden’s order before Brown issued a nationwide injunction.
The Biden administration had said 98 percent of federal employees had either been vaccinated or sought a religious or medical exemption. Those who had not complied would now be subject to being fired.
Nearly 82 percent of Americans over the age of 5 had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Thursday, according to the CDC.
With AP wires