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On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court issued 2 landmark rulings on the federal government’s power to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations. The Court curtailed the government’s ability to respond to the pandemic and may have also severely limited the authority of federal agencies to issue health and safety regulations.

In National Federation of Independent Business v Department of Labor, the Court blocked an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring vaccination, subject to religious or disability accommodations, or weekly testing and masking in businesses with 100 or more employees. In Biden v Missouri, the Court upheld a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation mandating health worker vaccinations, subject to the same accommodations. What do these decisions reveal about the future of federal protection of public health and safety?

Publication Citation

The Journal of the American Medical Association, published online January 21, 2022, at E1-E2.