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Gov't attorneys: Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate will save lives

Gov't attorneys: Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate will save lives
President Joe Biden announced mandates last Thursday that require federal healthcare workers and workers at large private companies to receive the coronavirus vaccine.   Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden's administration is moving to get its COVID-19 vaccine requirement back on track after it was blocked last weekend in federal court.

Attorneys at the Labor Department and Occupational Safety and Health Administration filed a brief in federal court late Monday that says vaccine requirements are nothing new, and that Biden's -- which aims to ensure that about 100 million U.S. workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 -- can save thousands of lives.

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The brief was filed in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which blocked the mandate on Saturday.

Biden announced the vaccine requirement on Thursday, ordering that all U.S. health workers at facilities that receive federal funding and workers at companies that employ more than 100 workers receive a coronavirus vaccine.

RELATED White House 'confident' private-sector vaccine mandate will be upheld

In its filing on Monday, the administration said that blocking the requirement could directly cause "hundreds" of deaths each day.

The federal court's ruling last week came after Texas and several other Republican-controlled states and conservative groups filed lawsuits arguing that the requirement is unconstitutional.

In its response to the stay, OSHA and Labor Department attorneys told the court there's "considerable evidence" and legal precedents to support the mandates.

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The government argues that the vaccine mandate, along with testing, physical distancing and other coronavirus control measures will save workers' lives at large companies, where outbreaks could lead to clusters of new infections.

"Taken together, these risk-mitigation methods will protect unvaccinated workers against the most serious health consequences of a COVID-19 infection and 'reduce the overall prevalence' of the COVID-19 virus 'at workplaces,'" the government states in the filing.

The vaccine mandates allow for religious and conditional exemptions for workers who don't interact in person with co-workers or customers and those who work only outdoors.

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