Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

Trump appointee blocks Biden federal worker vaccine mandate

The nationwide injunction bars enforcement of a rule requiring more than 3.5 million workers to undergo vaccination unless they have approved medical or religious exemptions.
A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. 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.
A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. 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. [ NAM Y. HUH | AP ]
Published Jan. 21|Updated Jan. 21

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 medical or religious exemptions. The requirement kicked in this past 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.

Related: Florida won’t enforce federal health care worker vaccine mandate

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.

• • •

How to get tested

Tampa Bay: The Times can help you find the free, public COVID-19 testing sites in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.

Florida: The Department of Health has a website that lists testing sites in the state. Some information may be out of date.

The U.S.: The Department of Health and Human Services has a website that can help you find a testing site.

• • •

How to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster shots for eligible recipients are being administered at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites. Many allow appointments to be booked online. Here’s how to find a site near you:

Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your ZIP code.

More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.

Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.

TTY: 888-720-7489

Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.

• • •

More coronavirus coverage

OMICRON VARIANT: Omicron changed what we know about COVID. Here’s the latest on how the infectious COVID-19 variant affects masks, vaccines, boosters and quarantining.

KIDS AND VACCINES: Got questions about vaccinating your kid? Here are some answers.

BOOSTER SHOTS: Confused about which COVID booster to get? This guide will help.

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every weekday morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

BOOSTER QUESTIONS: Are there side effects? Why do I need it? Here’s the answers to your questions.

PROTECTING SENIORS: Here’s how seniors can stay safe from the virus.

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge