Last week, OSHA handed down a new rule that every company with 100 or more employees must require everyone to be vaccinated. Within eight hours, 26 states sued.
It’s actually been a couple of months since President Biden announced the policy that every company with 100 or more employees would have to require every employee to be vaccinated for COVID-19. But as the sausage-making goes at the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office tasked with creating this policy, it took a couple of months for that law to be crafted and officially introduced.
They finally managed to introduce the workplace vaccination mandate Thursday, and the anti-vaxx reaction was swift. KTVU reports that within about eight hours, 26 states sued the federal government challenging the workplace COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
"This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise," said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt in a lawsuit filed on behalf of 11 states. (several other states filed in their own respective jurisdictional U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals). Schmitt argued he filed the case "to protect personal freedoms, preserve Missouri businesses, and push back on bureaucratic tyrants who simply want power and control."
Mind you, this is not even a full-on vaccination requirement. According to NPR, the mandate does give the vaccine-hesitant an “out” wherein they can test once every week in lieu of actually getting vaccinated. But the policy takes effect January 4, 2022, with possible penalties of $14,000 per violation if people don't comply.
Biden’s camp feels they’ve done enough homework on this policy that it will withstand legal challenges. "The administration clearly has the authority to protect workers, and actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.
We’re already moving on to a new front where kids age 5 and older are able to get vaccinated. But if the adults are unwilling to accept vaccine requirements, increasing vaccine access to more age groups may not be as effective a lifesaver as we’d hoped.
Image: CDC via Unsplash