Awaiting Supreme Court Decision, Iowa OSHA Blocks Vaccine Mandate for Businesses

man in yellow hardhat and work jacket

Iowans are waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees. In the meantime, they’re moving ahead with actions of their own.

Iowa Department of Education Communications Director Heather Doe told The Center Square in an emailed statement that since Iowa is a state-plan state, the Iowa Division of Labor typically enforces workplace safety in Iowa instead of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The state is required to notify OSHA whether it will adopt a given Emergency Temporary Standard or provide notice it will not adopt it because its standards are as effective as the new federal standard. Iowa needed to respond to the standard by Jan. 7.

Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts did so, saying that the Hawkeye State will not adopt or enforce the mandate.

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Vaccine Mandate Critics Urge Highest Court to Defend Individual Freedom

Supreme Court reflecting on the pool at the National Mall

President Joe Biden’s series of controversial federal vaccine mandates faced their first day before the U.S. Supreme Court Friday, and critics are urging the justices to side with personal freedoms over what they call executive branch overreach.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, the first of two cases heard by the court Friday, considers a vaccine mandate on private employers with 100 or more employees. The second case, Biden v. Missouri, challenges Biden’s mandate on health care workers.

“Today was one of the most important moments in our nation’s history,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, which has joined the legal challenges to Biden’s mandate push, said. “The Biden administration, and many on the far left, believe that the federal government has the right and the authority to dictate personal and private medical decisions to the American people, and coerce their employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. This overreach is a fundamental violation of the American spirit of freedom and personal responsibility and represents the left’s assault not just on common sense, but our constitutional rights.”

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Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices Seem Skeptical of Biden Admin’s Workplace COVID Vaccine Rules

The Supreme Court on Friday hearing oral arguments on two major Biden administration efforts to increase the country’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 — starting with the mandate requiring large-scale employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested.

In the first case, the National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al.

OSHA is more specifically requiring businesses with 100 or more workers either require them to be vaccinated or et tested weekly and wear masks while working, with exceptions for those who work outdoors.

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Joe Rogan, Rand Paul Begin Exodus from Big Tech in Mounting Backlash over Censorship

Prominent personalities including podcast host Joe Rogan and Republican Sen. Rand Paul have announced plans to leave major social media platforms amid growing backlash over censorship.

Rogan announced late Sunday that he had started an account on alternative social media site Gettr, posting remarks critical of Twitter on the platform.

“Just in case shit over at Twitter gets even dumber, I’m here now as well,” Rogan wrote. “Rejoice!”

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As Omicron Surges, Understaffed Hospitals Ease Mandates, Rehire Unvaxxed Employees

After unvaccinated healthcare workers were fired for refusing to comply with vaccine mandates, some are being asked to return to work due to staffing shortages amid increasing COVID-19 cases.

In Canada, for example, Alberta Health Services announced on Dec. 23 it will allow unvaccinated healthcare workers to resume their jobs starting Jan. 10 if they submit to frequent testing. AHS cited expected increased demands on the health system due to the spread of the Omicron variant for the policy change. As of the date of the announcement, 1,400 healthcare workers who were not fully vaccinated had been placed on unpaid leave.

AHS said that unvaccinated workers will be responsible for paying for and coordinating their COVID tests, which they must complete no more than 48 hours prior to their shifts.

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Twitter Admits ‘Error’ in Suspending Just the News Founder John Solomon’s Account over COVID Facts

Twitter late Thursday acknowledged that Just the News founder and Editor-in-Chief John Solomon’s account was “suspended in error” this week over a post about a COVID-19 vaccine.

The respond follows an appeal earlier in the day by Solomon after his account was suspended Tuesday for his tweet linking to the article “Pfizer to continue distributing version of COVID-19 vaccine not fully approved by FDA.”

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Biden’s Head Start Vaccination Requirement Could Have Detrimental Effects on Montana’s Rural Students

President Joe Biden’s administration put a policy in place that requires all employees in a federal education program to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which program directors argue will have a detrimental effect on Montana’s programs that assist underserved communities in the state.

If enforced, the requirement will have a negative impact on Montana’s Head Start program, according to program directors and information provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation by the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the White House, has mandated the vaccine for teachers and staff who work for Head Start and Early Head Start programs nationwide.

Head Start includes preschool programs for 3 and 4-year-old children, while Early Head Start programs are for infants, toddlers and pregnant women to “promote the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by supporting their development in a comprehensive way,” according to its website.

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New Study Suggests Natural Immunity Is More Protective over Time Than COVID-19 Vaccine

According to a new study out of Israel, the immunity individuals experience after recovering from COVID-19 is better than the protection experienced by individuals following an immunization against the virus.

Scientists who looked at the country’s health database over a number of months found that COVID infections and severe illness were higher among individuals who were vaccinated than those who recovered from the illness – those with natural immunity.

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Texas Sen. Cruz Introduces Bill Prohibiting Vaccine Mandate for Minors

Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation that would prohibit the federal government and any entity at the federal, state and local level that receives federal funding, including school districts, from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for minors.

“Parents should have the right to decide what is best for their children in consultation with their family doctor,” he said. “My view on the COVID-19 vaccine has remained clear: no mandates of any kind.

“President [Joe] Biden and his administration have repeatedly ignored medical privacy rights and personal liberty by pushing unlawful and burdensome vaccine mandates on American businesses, and now they are preparing to push a mandate on kids by pressuring parents – all without taking into account relative risk or the benefits of natural immunity.”

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YouTube Says Will Ban Posts from Prominent Anti-Vaccine Activists in Effort to Purge Misinformation

YouTube said Wednesday the platform is banning several prominent anti-vaccine activists from its platform as part of an effort to remove all content that falsely claims that approved vaccines are dangerous.

Amon the accounts being banned are those of Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., according to The New York Times.

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Analysis: COVID-19 Is Not a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’

On Friday, September 17, the CDC published a study that refutes the common claim that COVID-19 is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Coauthored by more than 50 MD’s and Ph.D.’s, the study contains data on the vaccine status of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 (C-19) at 21 U.S. hospitals across 18 states during March to August of 2021.

Contrary to assertions from the Associated Press and Anthony Fauci that fully vaccinated people comprise only 1% of those being hospitalized or killed by C-19, the study found that 13% of patients hospitalized with C-19 had been fully vaccinated. Moreover, that 13% figure is just the tip of the iceberg because the authors excluded from their study a large group of hospitalized C-19 patients, the bulk of whom were likely vaccinated.

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Vaccinating Kids as Young as Five Would Be a ‘Game Changer,’ Biden’s Education Secretary Says

President Joe Biden’s Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for children would be a “game changer” for students in the U.S.’s public school system, U.S. News reported.

Pfizer announced Monday that a smaller dose of its vaccine has generated an immune response in 5 to 11-year-old children during the clinical trial. The company said it plans to submit data for approval in the next few weeks.

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FDA Fully Approves Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval Monday to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, a major step that will likely have significant implications for vaccination mandates nationwide. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not yet received full FDA authorization.

The Pfizer vaccine previously received FDA authorization, which allowed its emergency use but did not give the full approval. Pfizer is the first company to receive full approval in the U.S.

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Supreme Court Denies Request for Injunction in IU Vaccine Mandate Case

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday denied the request for an emergency injunction to stop Indiana University’s vaccination mandate from going into effect.

Her decision, however, does not mark the end of the road for the eight IU students suing the university, or for their attorney, Jim Bopp.

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Nearly 200 Hospital Workers Will Be Fired in Houston If They Don’t Get Vaccinated

Nearly 200 Houston hospital workers will be fired after a two-week suspension if they don’t comply with a vaccine requirement.

Houston Methodist President and CEO Dr. Marc Boom sent an email in April to employees saying that they must receive at least the first dose of the vaccine by June 7, or they would face suspension and termination.

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California Offering Awards Totaling $116.5M to Get Vaxxed

COVID Vaccine sticker

Governor Newsom announced Thursday a $116.5 million vaccine incentive program including $1.5 million in cash prizes to encourage Californians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

California follows other states in offering big vaccine incentive payouts, New York is giving out scratch-off tickets for the chance to win up to $5 million, according to Politico.

“California has already made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, with the lowest case rates in the country while administering millions more vaccines than any other state,” Newsom said in a release. “But we aren’t stopping there, we’re doing everything it takes to get Californians vaccinated as we approach June 15 to help us fully reopen safely.”

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Florida Takes Feds to Court Over Cruise Ship Restrictions

Cruise ship next to dock

The state of Florida will argue before a federal judge Wednesday that the federal government should not be allowed to interfere with the cruise ship industry, which seeks to get back on its feet after the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns. 

“Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, filed the lawsuit last month challenging restrictions imposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and pointing to the economic impact on the state,” according to a CBS Miami report. “Moody’s office is seeking a preliminary injunction based, in part, on arguments that the CDC overstepped its legal authority in imposing the restrictions.”

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Illegal Immigrants Repeatedly Denied COVID-19 Vaccine in Florida: Report

COVID Vaccine

Undocumented immigrants in Florida have been routinely denied access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.

A valid Florida driver’s license or government-issued I.D., utility bill or rental agreement is required to receive the vaccine, the Herald reported. Other undocumented immigrants who worked as essential workers across the U.S. haven’t been able to receive the vaccine, though some local governments are advocating for other proofs of residency so they will have access.

“What we feel is that they don’t want immigrants vaccinated,” Doris Mejia, an undocumented immigrant living in Florida told the Herald. “They see us as less, yet we work the most.”

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If a Person Had COVID, One Dose of the Pfizer Vaccine May Be Enough, Studies Suggest

A single dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine may offer sufficient protection against the virus for people who have already had COVID-19, two studies show.

“This could potentially accelerate vaccine rollout,” researchers at University College of London and Public Health England said in the first study. “With increasing variants, wider coverage without compromising vaccine-induced immunity could help reduce variant emergence.”

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Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine Offers Strong Protection, Reduces Spread, FDA Analysis Finds

Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine is effective in preventing severe and fatal coronavirus cases, and may reduce the virus’s transmission among vaccinated people, the FDA said in new analyses Wednesday.

The drug maker announced in January that its vaccine was 72% effective against the virus in the United States and 64% effective in South Africa, where a mutated, more transmissible strain has become dominant. Its vaccine was 86% effective in preventing severe virus cases in the U.S., meaning that a vaccinated individual is at a far smaller risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.

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Johnson & Johnson Files for Emergency Authorization for Its Coronavirus Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson filed for emergency use authorization from the FDA on Thursday for its coronavirus vaccine.

The drug maker’s application followed its announcement that its vaccine was 72% effective in combating the virus. Although that’s slightly lower than Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s requires one dose instead of two.

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