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7 Nov, 2021 19:31

Biden administration ‘prepared to defend’ Covid-19 vaccine mandate even after appeals court freezes it

Biden administration ‘prepared to defend’ Covid-19 vaccine mandate even after appeals court freezes it

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has said that the White House is “prepared to defend” its controversial vaccine mandate from a recent freeze imposed by an appeals court.

Asked if the mandate, which was set to be in place on January 4, could “survive” the recent court-ordered stop from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Murthy told ABC on Sunday that the mandate remains “appropriate and necessary” and will be defended in court. 

“The president and the administration wouldn't have put these requirements in place if they didn't think they were appropriate and necessary,” Murthy said, “and the administration is prepared to defend them.” 

Biden’s controversial mandate would force companies with 100 or more employees to make sure their staff is vaccinated against Covid-19. Those who wish to opt out are required to go through weekly testing, paid for by their employer, and they must wear masks at the workplace. Non-compliant companies could face thousands of dollars in fines, though numerous states and businesses have already presented legal challenges. 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals cited “grave” constitutional concerns with the mandate over the weekend, giving the administration until Monday to respond. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated the court victory and promised “emergency hearings” to potentially strike down the mandate. 

Murthy argued on Sunday the mandate is not only for public health, but also “good for the economy,” despite numerous reports of staffing issues across the country as mandates are slowly enforced. 

“What’s actually hurting the economy,” Murthy claimed, “is Covid itself.”

Also on rt.com Federal court FREEZES Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses

“There are times where we recognize that our decisions have a broader effect on people around us. Covid has reminded us of that, and that's why having these types of requirements in workplaces will be not only helpful, it's a necessary step to accelerate our pathway out of the pandemic,” he argued, saying recent reporting has shown mandates increase vaccination rates in companies by an average of 20%. 

Over two dozen states have presented legal challenges to the Biden administration, arguing the mandate is unconstitutional. 

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