Biden’s vaccine mandates for federal contractors and healthcare workers are suspended | Ballard Spahr LLP


The Biden administration’s plan of action to end the pandemic saw severe setbacks this week as courts across the country halted mandatory government COVID-19 vaccination guidelines for federal contractors and subcontractors and healthcare workers.

Specifically, on September 24, 2021, the Biden administration issued guidelines to supplement a previously issued implementing regulation, which in fact prescribes a full vaccination of employees of contractually covered contractors (including main contractors or subcontractors) by December 8, 2021. Three states – Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee – sued the Biden administration to impose the ordinance. Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted the injunction, noting that, while Congress used its powers, empowerment was conferred on the President to promote economy and efficiency in the award of federal contracts , the limits of these powers were exceeded. Judge Tatenhove limited the injunction to the three plaintiff states.

Additionally, on November 5, 2021, the Biden government announced that many types of healthcare facilities and providers receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding must ensure that their employees, contractors, and volunteers are fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022 The regulation, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS), was enacted by two federal judges. Judge Matthew T. Schelp of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled that an injunction was warranted because he believed that plaintiffs’ argument that the CMS had no authority to implement the requirement was justified and because the CMS vaccine mandate is likely to be arbitrary or arbitrary. The advice temporarily blocks the application of the ordinance in the ten states pending the case, including: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Similarly, Judge Terry Doughty of the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, ruling a challenge to the rule in fourteen other states, issued an injunction to the rule, stating that “there is no doubt that a vaccine against 10 “3 million healthcare workers should be taken care of by Congress, not a government agency.” Judge Doughty’s ruling applies nationwide except in the 10 states mentioned where the CMS has already been banned from enforcing the rule.

The Biden government has already appealed the judgments on the CMS rule and is likely to appeal the judgments against the state contractor rule, all of which come at unsafe times as the country monitors the variant of Omicron coronavirus. Ballard Spahr’s Labor & Employment Group is prepared to advise affected government contractors, healthcare systems and companies on the status of these regulations and the planning for the rapidly approaching vaccination deadlines.

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