SCOTUS Strikes Down Vaccine Mandate for Large Businesses but Not Healthcare Workers


Al Drago, Bloomberg

SCOTUS Vaccine Mandate Ruling

By Jonathan Fernandes, News Editor

On Thursday, Jan. 13, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two rulings impacting Biden’s vaccination mandate. The first put a temporary ban on the President’s vaccine mandate for large businesses.  The second upheld the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers at facilities that received federal funds.


The first decision regarding large businesses, was reached through a 6-3 ruling by the justices, while the second decision regarding healthcare workers came at a 5-4 split decision.


The court released a majority opinion statement regarding the 6-3 ruling on large business vaccine mandates through OSHA citing its lack of precedence:


“OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.”


The court then gave a statement pertaining to its 5-4 split decision ruling to uphold the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, referencing the core mission to ensure safety.


“Both Medicare and Medicaid are administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has general statutory authority to promulgate regulations ‘as may be necessary to the efficient administration of the functions with which [he] is charged.’ One such function  — perhaps the most basic, given the Department’s core mission – is to ensure that the health care providers who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients protect their patients’ health and safety.”


President Biden released a statement following the ruling, urging private sector employers to enact their own vaccine requirements.

As a result of the Court’s decision, it is now up to States and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated,” Biden said. “I call on business leaders to … institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities. We have to keep working together if we want to save lives, keep people working, and put this pandemic behind us.

— President Biden


The rulings by SCOTUS are effective immediately across the country.  As far as ODU is concerned, the vaccine is required for students, faculty, and staff unless they have a medical or religious exemption, in which case they’re required to do weekly testing  ODU is continuing to follow guidance from the American College Health Association, public health experts and other public institutions around the U.S.