Biden asks Supreme Court to reinstate health worker vaccine mandate: Latest COVID-19

President Joe Biden filed an emergency application in the Supreme Court on Thursday in an attempt to reinstate a vaccine mandate for health care workers at hospitals that receive federal money.

The revived mandate would “save hundreds or even thousands of lives each month,” the application reads, adding: “The vaccine requirement falls squarely within the plain text of the Secretary’s [of Health and Human Services] statutory authority and complies with all procedural requirements.”

Federal judges in Missouri and Louisiana blocked the mandate in 24 states total in November, and the Louisiana ruling was upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp in the Eastern District of Missouri wrote in his ruling that regulations handed down by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid were issued improperly. The agency did not get approval from Congress to mandate vaccinations for health care workers, Schelp wrote, which he argued was necessary given the mandate’s “vast economic and political significance.”

The rules were also issued without a standard period for public comment, which Schelp said the agency’s justification for was not suitable.

“Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a more paradigmatic health and safety condition than a requirement that workers at hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities take the step that most effectively prevents transmission of a deadly virus to vulnerable patients,” Biden’s emergency application reads.

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