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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Saturday stayed enforcement of the Biden administration’s private-employer vaccine mandate, contending it raises “grave statutory and constitutional issues.”

The big picture: President Biden announced earlier in the week that certain employers must ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or tested weekly by Jan. 4 or face federal fines starting at nearly $14,000 per violation, according to senior administration officials.

  • The Texas attorney general, along with the attorney generals of Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah, joined the petition, in addition to several companies and sought an emergency stay against the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which will enforce the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard that affects about two-thirds of all U.S. workers.
  • A three-judge panel on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' released the unsigned and unpublished order, which contained no additional explanation for the stay.
  • Those judges on the panel included Edith Hollan Jones, nominated by Ronald Reagan, and Kyle Duncan and Kurt Engelhardt, both appointed by Donald Trump.

Of note: Florida also filed suit to challenge the mandate, which had an original compliance deadline of Dec. 8.

What's next: The Biden administration has until Monday at 5pm to respond to the request for a permanent injunction.

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2022 - Health

America's vaccination drive runs out of gas

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The U.S. is likely reaching the end of the road on new vaccinations, after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for large employers.

Why it matters: Cash prizes and other incentives barely moved the needle on vaccinations. So the government turned from carrots to sticks — but now it has lost its biggest stick.

Biden announces purchase of additional 500 million COVID-19 tests

Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday that his administration is buying an additional 500 million rapid tests to distribute to people in the U.S. for free.

Driving the news: The administration previously bought 500 million rapid tests in December, which are scheduled to arrive this month. With the purchase announced today, the U.S. will have 1 billion tests in total "to meet future demand," Biden said.

Biden deploying military medical staff to help overwhelmed hospitals

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday announced a "surge" deployment of military medical personnel to support hospitals currently dealing with a spike of COVID-19 cases largely driven by the Omicron variant.

Driving the news: Omicron's surge in cases has led to a "high number of total hospitalizations," and hospitals are having to treat "more and more patients in the midst of staffing challenges and faced with a highly transmissible virus that does not spare our health care workers," CDC director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday.