Federal appeals court suspends companies’ vaccine requirement for Biden

This is yet another setback for Joe Biden, who had just recorded his first major legislative victory with the adoption in Congress on Friday of his infrastructure investment plan. A US federal court of appeal seized by several Republican states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah) and private companies suspended, Saturday, November 6, the vaccine obligation established by the President of the United States for employees of companies with more than 100 people.

In his decision, the New Orleans Federal Court of Appeal finds that the plaintiffs have “Gave arguments suggesting that there are serious constitutional and procedural problems” with the government text. The latter is therefore “Suspended” temporarily pending examination by the court on the merits. The government must provide a response on Monday, that of the petitioners is expected Tuesday.

“We will be able to challenge Biden’s unconstitutional abuse of power in court”, reacted on Twitter the conservative governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who has already banned vaccine obligations on his soil. He added that the hearings would take place ” soon “.

The vaccine obligation makes people cringe

Even if it is only a suspension at this stage, it is a setback for Joe Biden, who announced on Thursday that employees of companies with at least 100 people should be vaccinated against Covid-19 or tested every week from January 4, a decision immediately challenged by the Republican governors of several states, in multiple jurisdictions. The Democratic president said on Thursday that: “Vaccination is the best way out of this pandemic”, assuring that he would have “Preferred to avoid this obligation” supposed to reach over two-thirds of the country’s workforce. “Too many people remain unvaccinated for us to be able to get out permanently”, he had estimated.

The suspended text leaves it to the employer to take the measures it deems appropriate, including disciplinary ones, against those who are resistant to the vaccine and to regular tests. Companies that fail to enforce the obligation face a fine ranging from $ 13,000 to $ 136,000, according to this text.

The White House had warned that the new rule was binding on all states, including those that passed laws prohibiting employers from requiring vaccinations, masks or tests. Several large American groups have already prepared the ground by imposing these obligations on their employees from the end of September.

United Airlines has warned its 67,000 employees that they face layoffs if they do not get their shots on time. As of Thursday, only 2,000 of them had asked to be exempted for medical or religious reasons, and most of the rest received the injection.

At the meat giant Tyson Foods, which had seen its activities severely disrupted at the start of the pandemic, the 120,000 employees were to be vaccinated at 1is November. From less than 50% in early August, their vaccination rate had risen to 96% by Thursday, according to the New York Times. The US military, which has also adopted a very strict policy in this area, has a vaccine coverage of 95%.

Certain sectors remain resistant, often rejecting the obligation placed on them more than the vaccine itself. This is particularly the case among law enforcement or firefighters, in whom the vaccination rate is frequently below average, despite the many deaths linked to the pandemic in these professions. The Los Angeles County Sheriff admitted that only 43% of his police officers were vaccinated against the coronavirus. Sheriff Alex Villanueva called on the county to suspend the obligation, saying it “Interfered with the ability to guarantee public safety”. In Chicago, several thousand police officers are at risk of ending up on unpaid leave.

Fueled since the summer by the Delta variant, the Covid-19 epidemic still kills around 1,100 people a day in the United States, most of whom are not vaccinated. In total, the epidemic has so far killed 753,937. By early November, more than 58% of the American population had been fully vaccinated, compared to only about 50% in August when the first vaccine obligations were announced.

President Biden has made the fight against Covid-19 one of the hallmarks of his presidency. But the US vaccination campaign, which has been carried out with full force, has run out of steam, boosting contamination rates and partly slowing down the economic recovery.

Read also Covid-19: the United States will start vaccinating 5-11 year olds this week

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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Federal appeals court suspends companies’ vaccine requirement for Biden

The Inside News Hyderabad