The Biden administration is anxious to see their new vaccine regulations, enforced through the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA), take effect, and they’re pledging to monitor whether those who claim to be exempt from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination are “not abusing” the system, according to Biden administration Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.
Speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Murthy suggested that businesses have welcomed President Joe Biden’s vaccine “mandate,” which uses OSHA’s power to force businesses to take measures to protect the health and safety of employees in “emergency” situations to force businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate their workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine or face rigorous testing.
“A lot of businesses are actually relieved that these are going into place,” Murthy told CNN. “And we’ve heard a lot of feedback from the Business Roundtable and others that this will help create safer workplaces. This is what we’ve got to do to get to the next phase of this pandemic response so that we can get through this and get back to normal once and for all.”
Murthy also suggested that the Biden administration would be keeping close tabs on companies and workers who claimed an exemption from the mandate.
“Unfortunately, as a country, we have experience in dealing with exemptions, but we’ve got to be vigilant there and make sure that people are using them, you know, in the spirit that they’re intended and not abusing them or asking for exemptions when they don’t apply,” Murthy said. “That’s an area that we continue to monitor in the days and weeks ahead.”
Some businesses, particularly those with employees who have religious objections to vaccination, have said they may claim an “exemption” to the administration’s mandate, according to CBS News, though it is not yet clear whether there are legal grounds for such exemptions.
“Many large corporationsto keep employees safe from the virus,” CBS said, but noted that “under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, offer exemptions to individuals with either a disability or ‘sincerely held’ religious belief that prevents them from getting the vaccine. ”
“No major religious denomination in the U.S. opposes vaccination outright,” the outlet continued. “But an individual’s ‘sincerely held’ religious belief does not have to be part of an organized-religion mandate to be considered a valid reason for exemption from getting the vaccine.”
Religious exemptions to vaccination mandates have previously held.
Biden claimed, when he announced his new COVID-19 demands on Thursday, that the six-point plan was designed to protect vaccinated workers from the unvaccinated. Biden, who had, earlier, unofficially conceded that vaccine madates were likely unconstitutional, utilized OSHA’s emergency management regulations to institute their “mandate” instead of doing so by executive order.
“The new mandate would affect about 80 million Americans, with about 17 million workers at health facilities also required to get vaccinated,” Fox News estimated.
The mandate, though, is already subject to legal threats and will likely come under legal challenge when OSHA drafts its emergency measure — as it has been directed — sometime this September. Many Republican governors have already told the Biden administration that the intend to file suit against the mandate, and companies — including the Daily Wire — have suggested they will file their own legal challenges.
A New York hospital told Axios earlier this weekend that they intend to “pause” certain procedures, including delivering babies, after staffers resigned over news of the mandate.
“At least six unvaccinated maternity staffers at Lewis County General Hospital have quit. While 165 staffers, or about 27% of the hospital’s workforce, is unvaccinated, CEO Gerald Cayer said at a news briefing,” Axios reported. “The Sept. 25 pause will take place two days before the state’s deadline for health care workers to get the shot.”
“The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital,” the hospital said.