Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

COVID-19

Trump appointee blocks Biden federal worker vaccine mandate

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 21, 2022

FILE - A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. Three new U.S. studies offer more evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are standing up to the omicron variant, at least among people who have received booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the studies, Friday. Jan. 21, 2022.  (Associated Press)
FILE - A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. Three new U.S. studies offer more evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are standing up to the omicron variant, at least among people who have received booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the studies, Friday. Jan. 21, 2022. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A U.S. judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction on Friday barring the federal government from enforcing President Joe Biden’s requirement that federal workers without qualifying medical or religious exemptions be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Judge Jeffrey Brown, who was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of Texas by then-President Donald Trump, ruled that opponents of Biden’s vaccination mandate for federal employees were likely to succeed at trial and blocked the government from enforcing the requirement.

Biden announced in September that more than 3.5 million federal workers were required to undergo vaccination, with no option to get regularly tested instead, unless they secured approved exemptions.

The requirement kicked in during November, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that 98% of federal workers are vaccinated.

“We are confident in our legal authority here,” she added.

Those out of compliance with the policy were referred to counseling and could be terminated under an executive order signed by Biden.

Brown wrote that at issue was whether the president “can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment.” He added, “That, under the current state of the law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far.”

The Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling.

The suit was brought by the group Feds for Medical Freedom.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.