Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all federal contractors.

U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker in the Southern District of Georgia said Biden likely exceeded his authority by issuing the mandate for contractors. He signed a pair of executive orders in September requiring all federal workers, contractors, and healthcare workers employed by institutions that accept Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

The order required federal contractors to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18.

Multiple states sued the Biden administration over the mandate, including Georgia, for which Baker issued the temporary injunction. Those who oppose the requirement said it can cause “irreparable injury” to employees who face losing their jobs if they don’t comply.

“The court acknowledges the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought throughout the nation and the globe,” Baker wrote in his ruling. “However, even in times of crisis, this court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities.”

Last week, federal judges in Louisiana and Missouri also issued injunctions blocking the mandate for healthcare workers.

As of Tuesday, 199.69 million people have been fully vaccinated in the United States, 60.1% of the U.S. population, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

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