The U.S. Supreme Court suspended on Thursday the implementation of government-imposed vaccination or testing obligations for employees of companies employing more than 100 people. At the same time, the vaccination order for employees of medical facilities was upheld.
The court’s decisions did not prejudge the legality of the vaccination obligation, but whether they could be valid for the time needed for them to be heard by lower courts.
In the first of the issued decisions, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 6-3 that the obligation to vaccinate or undergo weekly tests imposed by OSHA should be suspended. The justification referred to, inter alia, the high costs of implementing the regulations, and the relationship between the decision and work safety was questioned. Most judges concluded that while similar regulations would be justified in workplaces particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19, it is questionable to extend the order to all large companies employing a total of 80 million Americans, or 2/3 of all workers in the United States.
In the second judgment, by a 5-4 vote, the judges decided that the vaccination obligation for all employees of medical facilities providing services under the Medicare and Medicaid state health insurance program could remain in force. In the justification of the decision, the court found that these actions fell within the standard powers of the minister of health and were justified in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision concerns 17 million medical workers.
In response to Thursday’s rulings, President Joe Biden urged employers to impose vaccination obligations on their own, as do many of the largest US companies, regardless of court decisions. Biden also noted that the number of unvaccinated Americans has fallen by more than 55 million since the announcement of the decision to introduce compulsory vaccinations.
“If my administration had not introduced the obligation, today we would have had significantly more Covid-19 victims and more hospitalizations,” Biden said in a statement.
From Washington, Oskar Górzyński (PAP)
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