One year ago President-elect Joe Biden promised Americans he would not implement a Wuhan coronavirus vaccine mandate. This was a promise also made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
In September, partially to distract from the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan where hundreds of Americans remain stranded, President Biden announced a federal vaccine mandate for private businesses with more than 100 employees. He also mandated federal workers and members of the military receive the vaccine or face termination. OSHA was tapped with implementation and enforcement.
Over the past four weeks, Biden’s mandate has been repeatedly halted by courts for the private sector and some federal government healthcare workers. OSHA announced on November 17 implementation and enforcement of the mandate have been postponed indefinitely. Medicare and Medicaid have done the same. “On November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402) (“ETS”). The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS ‘until further court order,'” the OSHA website states. “While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”
Regardless, Biden and administration officials have told private businesses they should continue to implement vaccine requirements and fire workers who choose not to comply. “The President will call on businesses to move forward expeditiously with requiring their workers to get vaccinated or tested weekly. This is especially important given the Omicron variant,” the White House released last week. “The President will urge businesses to take steps now to protect workers, customers, and the economy.”