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In New York Magazine’s The Cut, Mark Barnes Discusses the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Workers

Practices: Health Care, Litigation, Administrative Litigation, Health Privacy & Security, Digital Health, Technology, Media & Telecommunications

In a New York Magazine The Cut article, health care partner Mark Barnes (Boston) analyzes legal challenges to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses. 

Starting November 23, all government employees must be vaccinated, while federal contractors and health-care facilities will receive guidance on enforcing mandatory vaccines in October. Starting sometime in the next two months, workers at businesses with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated or face once-a-week COVID-19 tests.

Many workplaces are already requiring their employees to get vaccinated, but so far they’ve been acting of their own accord. Mark notes that the “vaccine or test” mandate for private businesses is potentially vulnerable to legal challenges. In fact, Arizona’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit before the guidelines have even been released.

Mark said there is a chance courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court, many current members of which are suspicious of overreach of federal powers — will decide that mandating vaccines in the workplace is beyond the Occupational Safety and Health Administration power — mainly because COVID-19 exposure isn’t a hazard specific to the workplace and because vaccine mandates have traditionally been state and local decisions under the state police power.

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