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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Version of Pfizer Vaccine that Predates FDA Approval Still Being Distributed in Pennsylvania

healthcare worker giving vaccination

Of the three companies producing COVID vaccines in the U.S., only one—Pfizer Inc.—has yet gained full FDA approval, and at least some Pfizer vaccines currently being administered in Pennsylvania come from inventory that predates that approval.

On Aug. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a Pfizer shot to prevent severe COVID-19 cases. Like Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, Pfizer had been a manufacturing vaccine to fight the coronavirus under federal emergency-use authorization (EUA). The injection produced by Pfizer under EUA is known as Pfizer BioNTech and the company’s post-FDA approval vaccine is called Comirnaty (pronounced kuh-MUR-nit-ee).

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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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Tennessee General Assembly Organizes for the Third Extraordinary Session Focused on COVID-Related Issues

The two chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly met Wednesday in floor session for less than an hour to organize for the Third Extraordinary Session of the 112th General Assembly, which will focus on COVID-related issues.

Special Session III was called on October 19 by Tennessee’s Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally and Speaker of the House of Representatives Cameron Sexton in response to the written request of two-thirds of the members of each house, even as legislators were engaged in the Second Extraordinary Session called by Governor Bill Lee taking up $884 million in taxpayer giveaways for Ford Motor Company’s $5.6 billion electric vehicle project to be located on the Memphis Regional Megasite known as “Blue Oval City.”

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The City of Phoenix to Hand Out $100 Gift Cards to the First 1000 Takers of COVID Vaccine

The city of Phoenix will incentivize receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at city-sponsored vaccination clinics by handing out $100 gift cards.

The Phoenix City Council approved the pilot program to increase vaccination rates. The program will be funded by federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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Wisconsin School Choice Bill Would Allow Parents to Transfer Kids over Mask Policies

Wisconsin’s latest open enrollment suggestion would allow parents to send their kids to a new school based on whether or not the school enforced mask mandates.

The Senate Committee on Education on Thursday heard from lawmakers on Senate Bill 587, which would give parents the ability to send their kids to a new school based solely on a school district’s coronavirus policy.

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COVID Vaccination Mandate Bill in Front of New Ohio Committee

An Ohio bill that would end COVID-19 vaccination mandates and nearly passed the House last week is back in front of another committee with health care groups from around the state lined up in opposition.

House Bill 435, the Vaccine Fairness Act, received hearings in front of the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday and Thursday.

The legislation would provide broad exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination mandates from public and private employers and schools. It also would stop any entity from mandating a COVID-19 vaccine that has not been fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and prohibit government-ordered vaccine passports.

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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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Senator Marsha Blackburn Hits Back After Congressman Cohen Pens Letter to President Biden

On Thursday in a letter to President Joe Biden, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) suggested there needs to be more incentive to get vaccinated instead of prioritizing unvaccinated people for monoclonal antibody treatment.

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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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Loudoun County School Board Passes Policy That Protects First Amendment Rights in Response to Teachers’ Lawsuit

The Loudoun County school board voted on a revised professional conduct policy to specifically mention “Protected Speech” and the First Amendment rights of employees.

The new policy is a response to Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teacher Tanner Cross who went viral for his comments at a school board meeting in May, where he spoke out against the district’s gender policy and was put on administrative leave shortly afterward. On Aug. 30 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled to reinstate him, calling his removal “likely unconstitutional.”

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Chiefs for Change, a Group Which Lists Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn as a Member, Issues Statement Supporting Joe Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Chiefs for Change, an educational advocacy group, has come out in support of President Joe Biden’s new executive order on vaccine mandates. Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education, Penny Schwinn, is a part of the group.

In a statement on Thursday, the group applauded the President’s executive order, saying, “The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective – and they are what will finally end this pandemic. We commend the Biden Administration for requiring staff at all Head Start programs, Department of Defense schools, and Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools to get vaccinated, and we echo the president’s request that states require vaccines for their K-12 employees.”

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Georgia’s GOP Congresspersons, Along with Pro-Vaccine Governor, Resist Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is leading the charge among Republican officials to litigate against President Joe Biden’s order that all employers with 100 or more staffers ensure that their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or that they show a negative test weekly.

“Just ended a call with my fellow Republican governors,” Kemp tweeted Friday. “We are fighting back against @POTUS’ outrageous overreach and attack on individual freedom.”

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Chamber of Commerce Conference in Michigan to Require Coronavirus Vaccination, Offer Interaction ‘Comfort Level’ Wristbands

Detroit Regional Chamber Conference in 2020

The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce conference later this month will require attendees to be vaccinated and offer them interaction “comfort level” wristbands to wear.

The Chamber event, which will take place September 20-23 on Mackinac Island, will also require masking in certain areas, despite the vaccination mandate.

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Major Problems Await If COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Drives Unvaccinated Nurses Away, MTSU Nursing Student Warns

A Middle Tennessee State University nursing student who will not take the COVID-19 vaccine said other people in the profession she’s pursuing are losing their jobs. This, because certain nurses also won’t allow anyone to inject them with the shot, said MTSU student Avery Garfield.

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Tennesseans Rally at the Capital for Vaccine Choice, Medical Freedom

A crowd of about 50 people gathered at the Capital Lawn in Nashville on Saturday to rally for vaccine choice on Saturday.

The issue, the group said via a Facebook post leading up to Saturday’s rally, is “pretty simple.”

“There are plenty of other things we can talk about,” the one graphic reads, “but the core is MEDICAL TYRANNY vs MEDICAL FREEDOM.”

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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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Ohio Health Care Group Fears Vaccine Mandate Could Be Devastating

President Joe Biden’s plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home employees could damage further an industry struggling in Ohio, the executive director of the Ohio Health Care Association said.

Pete Van Runkle said the group is pro-vaccine but a federal mandate negatively could affect services to some of the most needy people in the state and be damaging to skilled nursing facilities.

“We believe the Biden Administration’s plan, at least articulated in the press conference, would be devastating to Ohio SNFs and to their staff and residents,” Van Runkle said. “While we support vaccination and recognize that it is the most effective defense against COVID-19, the proposed mandate does not account for staffing that is already stretched beyond the breaking point.”

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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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Ohio Public Schools, Colleges Cannot Require COVID-19 Vaccine

Young girl wearing a mask and reading a book in school

Ohio public schools, colleges and universities cannot require COVID-19 vaccines after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that originally was introduced to help military families.

The Ohio Senate amended House Bill 244, which passed in late June along party lines, to prohibit public schools from requiring any vaccine not fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and from discriminating against unvaccinated individuals. The FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines on an emergency basis.

The bill also allows military families moving into Ohio to enroll their children in school virtually or through advanced enrollments before they move into the state.

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Arizona Department of Health Services Report Shows That Half of Arizonans Are Vaccinated

Half of all Arizonans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ most recent data released Thursday morning. 

Of Arizona’s population of 7,189,020, the ADHS said that the 50% mark was hit with Thursday’s update that 3,594,004 people have now received at least one dose of vaccine. Of those, 3,186,689 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of July 8, with a total of 6,590,483 vaccine doses administered in the Grand Canyon state. 

Arizona vaccine distribution peaked in April and began to downturn in May. The ADHS opened several state-run vaccination sites in Maricopa, Pima, and Yuma counties, all of which closed by the end of June. 

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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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Miley Cyrus Held Free Pride Month Concert for Vaccinated People Only at the Ryman

fans

Pop star Miley Cyrus held a free Pride Month-themed concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday – but only for vaccinated people. Less than 2,500 people were granted entry; no phones or cameras were allowed.

In order to get a free ticket, fans had to flash their vaccination cards as proof of immunization. Although those in line were likely vaccinated, several still wore masks. Local historian David Ewing documented pictures and video of fans standing in line waiting for their free tickets. It appears from the video that the line wrapped around the building and down Commerce Street. 

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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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Minnesota to End Statewide Mask Mandate Friday

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday announced the end of Minnesota’s statewide mask requirement starting Friday, aligning Minnesota with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on face coverings.

“So, those peacetime emergencies are done and the business mitigations are coming to an end. I want to be clear it’s not the end of the pandemic, but it is the end of the pandemic for a  lot of vaccinated folks,” he told reporters.

Minnesotans who aren’t fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to wear face coverings indoors.

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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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Walz Hits Goal of 70 Percent Seniors Getting First COVID-19 Vaccination, Expands Eligibility to 1.8 Million Minnesotans

On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility after reaching its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotan’s seniors.

The state will expand eligibility to the next two phases of Minnesotans, starting Wednesday.

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