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Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers blocked by appeals court

Fox Business 3/24/2023 Paul Best
NYC ends COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers
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President Biden's mandate that about 3.5 million federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 was blocked by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday. 

The president originally issued the executive order in September 2021, requiring workers to be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption. 

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown issued an injunction blocking the mandate in January 2022, but a three-judge panel on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the mandate last April. 

RELIGIOUS EMPLOYEES ALLEGEDLY FIRED FOR NOT GETTING COVID-19 VACCINE SUE MASSACHUSETTS PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY

President Joe Biden talks about the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File © AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File President Joe Biden talks about the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

On Thursday, 10 of the 5th Circuit's 16 judges reversed that decision, ruling that there is no constitutional basis for requiring federal employees to be vaccinated. 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday evening. 

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A similar vaccine mandate for private sector businesses with at least 100 employees was blocked by the Supreme Court in January 2022. Health care workers at institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding are still required to be vaccinated unless they have medical or religious exemptions.

In this Oct. 5, 2021, file photo a healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File © AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File In this Oct. 5, 2021, file photo a healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

Cities throughout the country have started voluntarily rolling back their own vaccine mandates as the pandemic has abated. 

New York City got rid of its vaccine requirement for city employees last month. Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the commissioner of the city's department of health, said that the mandate was "absolutely necessary to meet the moment" but can be relaxed as the city leaves the "emergency phase of the pandemic."

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Biden told Congress in January that he will allow twin emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic to expire in May, more than three years after they were enacted. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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