Courts Deal More Setbacks To Federal Vaccine Mandates
Meanwhile, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to lift a lower court block on the vaccine mandate that impacts health workers in about half of the states. And members of the military are dismissed for refusing to get the shot.
Courts Keep Chipping Away At Biden COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Federal judges in Louisiana and Texas continue to chip away at Biden administration COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The latest of the piecemeal blows to the vaccine mandates came Thursday in lawsuit filed by Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi. In that case, U.S. District Judge Dee Drell in Alexandria, Louisiana, declined to block a requirement that all employees of federal contractors get vaccinated — noting that there is already a nationwide block on that mandate issued by a Georgia-based federal judge. (McGill, 12/17)
Justice Department Asks High Court To Allow Vaccine Mandate
The Biden administration late Thursday asked the Supreme Court to block lower court orders that are keeping President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for health care workers from going into effect in about half of the states. The administration asked the justices to allow the “urgently needed health and safety measure to take effect before the winter spike in COVID-19 cases worsens further.” It said the requirement “will save hundreds or even thousands of lives each month.” (12/17)
EXPLAINER: Must Employers Follow Biden's Vaccine Mandates?
The Biden administration contends its rule-making authority is firm and supersedes any state policies prohibiting vaccine requirements. Recent experience shows that such mandates generally prompt people to get vaccinated: By the time a Biden requirement for federal workers to be vaccinated took effect last month, 92% had received at least their first dose of the shot. Following is a rundown of some of Biden’s most sweeping vaccine requirements and the status of the legal fights over them. (Lieb and Mulvihill, 12/17)
And more members of the U.S. military are dismissed for not getting vaxxed —
More Than 100 Marines Kicked Out Of The Service For Refusing Covid Vaccine
The Marine Corps has booted 103 of its members for refusing the Covid vaccine, the service announced on Thursday, even as all the military branches report that a vast majority of troops have gotten the shots. The news comes the same day the Army announced that it has relieved six leaders — including two commanding officers — over the issue, and that almost 4,000 active-duty soldiers have refused the vaccine. (McLeary, 12/16)
The New York Times:
Vaccine Holdouts In Army And Navy Will Be Dismissed, Military Says
The vast majority of active-duty troops in the Army and the Navy are vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the small number of those still refusing shots will soon be dismissed from the military, officials said on Thursday. In the Army, 468,459 active-duty soldiers, or 98 percent, have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The Navy has inoculated 342,974 members, with roughly 1.7 percent still holding out. (Steinhauer, 12/16)
In related news from Vermont —
Burlington Free Press:
Most of the Vermont National Guard Is Vaccinated. Here's What Happens to the Unvaccinated.
The majority of Vermont's Air and Army National Guard members have been vaccinated according to numbers released by the Guard on Wednesday. There are still some, however, who remain unvaccinated. Between the Air and Army branches of the National Guard, there are two deadlines for troops to be fully vaccinated. For the Vermont Air National Guard, airmen had to be vaccinated by Dec. 2 and 93% of the force is currently fully vaccinated. Vermont Army National Guard's deadline isn't until the end of June 2022, and so far 85% soldiers have been vaccinated. Active-duty Army soldiers were required to be fully vaccinated Dec. 15, but this does not apply to most Vermont Army National Guard soldiers, only those that are currently deployed. (St. Angelo, 12/17)