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Republicans in Congress are asking the Supreme Court to stop President Biden from ordering vaccines to private companies with 100 or more employees, arguing that the president and his administration have exceeded their authority.
The brief drafted by 47 senators and 136 members of the House was filed with the court on Thursday.
‘Vaccine mandates – a prototypical state police power – are not within the purview of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, let alone something on which Congress intended OSHA to take unilateral action under its “emergency” powers,’ they wrote.
The mandate issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was initially scheduled to take effect on January 4.
The court case was initially blocked but then reinstated on appeal.
On January 7, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments.
A brief filed by the Biden administration asks the court to allow the mandate stand, a move that OSHA estimates will save 6,500 lives and prevent about 250,000 hospitalizations over the next six months.
Lawyers at the Department of Justice said the 1970 law that created OSHA was clear that the policy was ‘squarely within OSHA’s statutory authority.’
‘Delaying enforcement of the [mandate] thus would likely cost many lives per day, in addition to large numbers of hospitalizations and other serious health effects,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote.
Conservative groups and Republican state attorneys general oppose the White House.
A brief from 183 Republican members of Congress, led by Reps. Elise Stefanik, Jim Banks, Virginia Foxx, Rick Allen, and Sen. Mike Braun, expressed concern about overreach by the government.
‘Congressional members have an interest in the powers they delegate to agencies not being abused – the legislative authority vested in the federal government belongs to Congress, not the executive branch,’ they write.
‘In this case, the promulgation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) of a sweeping, nationwide vaccine mandate on businesses intrudes into an area of legislative concern far beyond the authority of the agency.’
‘And it does so with a mandate enacted through OSHA’s seldom-used ‘emergency temporary standard’ (ETS) provision that allows for bypass of notice and comment rulemaking under certain circumstances. That OSHA exceeded its authority in enacting the ETS Mandate is not a “particularly hard” question.’
Among the business challengers is the National Federation of Independent Business, a group that helps represent small businesses.
As for other efforts of the Biden administration to tackle COVID-19, they are also bogged down in the courts.
In about half of the states, a requirement covering Medicaid and Medicare workers is blocked.
By December 6, it required more than two million unvaccinated health care workers to receive a dose of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, scientists are raising alarm bells about over-vaccination, and that Omicron is a much milder form of Covid and that it may spell the end of the pandemic because, after infection and recovery, individuals have more anti-bodies.
Experts say the US, the UK, and other major economies may be on the verge of over-vaccinating their populations in the fight against Covid.
Israel has already announced their intention to administer another round of booster shots, which means the United States and the United Kingdom will eventually be forced to follow suit even though both nations say there are no plans to administer a fourth dose.
Scientists argue that rolling out vaccines every three to four months is simply not feasible or even necessary due to Omicron, which some believe will speed up the process of endemicity and end the days of sky-high hospitalization and mortality numbers.
Virologist Ian Jones says descriptions of Omicron as a natural vaccine are accurate.
Based on this argument, Omicron is highly transmissible but milder than other variants, which means it can give an immunity boost without being as serious. Furthermore, some data suggest that infection rather than vaccination provides the best immune response in the long run.
Coming variants ‘may be even more mild’, Professor Jones told the Daily Mail. He added that the need for healthy adults to get booster shots could soon recede. Instead of pushing those every few months, he said annual ones for those most vulnerable ahead of the winter months would be ‘more feasible’.
Prof. Jones said how the Omicron continues to develop will dictate whether all adults will need one.
‘If Omicron is an attenuated strain already on its way to endemicity then later versions may be even more mild and the need for vaccination for an otherwise fit adult might recede,’ he said.
‘You have to remember that making you very sick is no good to the virus at all, all it “wants” is to transmit, so virus evolution will tend towards a less severe strain which you will pass around as you will struggle on with work, etc much as we do for common colds.’
Professor Jones said that descriptions of Omicron as a ‘natural vaccine’ were true in general.
Even though any Covid variant boosts immunity, the fact that Omicron is highly transmissible yet milder actually works to boost immunity.
‘Whatever version you were infected with your immunity would be boosted,’ he told the Daily Mail. ‘That mild bit suits us because it means we can get immunity without, or with much less, risk.’
According to a study conducted in South Africa of Covid death rates during the nation’s Omicron wave, there was hope that Omicron would usher in the end of the pandemic phase of Covid. The number of fatalities was only a quarter of what was seen in other surges.
Dr. Pradeep Awate, a health official for the state of Maharashtra in India, told the Press Trust of India that even though Omicron is spreading more quickly than Delta, there have been few hospitalizations.
‘If this happens, Omicron will act as a natural vaccination and may help in its (Covid’s) progression towards the endemic stage,’ he said.
A recent study from the Africa Health Research Institute showed blood from people infected with the Omicron virus had 4.4-fold more antibodies when exposed to the Delta version.