Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Supreme Court’s Refusal to Leave Vaccination Policy in Place Jeopardizes Lives
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Supreme Court’s Refusal to Leave Vaccination Policy in Place Jeopardizes Lives

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s COVID-19 “vaccinate or test” requirements for large employers. But in a separate ruling, the court said that the government can enforce vaccine requirements for workers in health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. In response, Emily Gee, vice president and coordinator for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

Vaccine requirements are a powerful tool for protecting public health and worker safety. They are effective, good for the economy, and publicly supported. Congress charged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with addressing grave dangers in the workplace, and vaccinate-or-test policies are critical for this charge. Protecting America’s workers and preventing illness and death from COVID-19 through high vaccination coverage is the most effective way to fully return to economic activity, schooling, and daily life.

With the recent surge in cases, OSHA’s policy is a critically important tool for protecting American workers from the greatest public health danger that this country has faced in the past century. It is disappointing that the Supreme Court—which has its own testing and masking policy to protect the court from the virus—will not allow these essential protections to remain in place.

Fortunately, the court’s decision to allow the policy that covers health care facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid will protect patients and residents of long-term care facilities from the grave dangers of COVID-19. This policy will also reduce health care worker infections and quarantine, preventing deaths caused indirectly by overwhelmed hospitals.

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For more information, or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.