Legal challenges continue for vaccine executive orders

November 18, 2021

Earlier this year, the Biden administration issued a variety of executive orders requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for federal workers, federal contractors, healthcare employees, and businesses with over 100 employees. These orders have been met with a wide array of legal challenges throughout the process, and one order is temporarily stayed.

In early November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued its opinion on the Biden administration’s executive order requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all businesses with more than 100 employees by January 4, 2022.

The mandate would have allowed exemptions, but those employees with exemptions would be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing at their own expense. The appellate court called the requirements “staggeringly overbroad” and placed a temporary stay on the order. The order has faced a flurry of lawsuits and is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

As for the other executive orders requiring federal workers, federal contractors, and health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, so far, none of them have been halted, though they face several lawsuits as well. The executive order for federal contractors pushed back the enforcement date and now requires contractors to be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022, or to receive an exemption and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.