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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

More than 15 states across the U.S. have filed lawsuits against the Biden administration over its federal vaccine mandate for companies with at least 100 employees.

Driving the news: Attorneys general in 11 states filed a lawsuit on Friday against the administration, calling the mandate "unconstitutional, unlawful and unwise."

  • The states participating in the lawsuit are Missouri, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire and Wyoming.
  • The lawsuit was primarily brought by 10 Republican attorneys general. Iowa's Democratic attorney general, Tom Miller, also joined in the suit.

State of play: On Thursday, three other states — Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee — sued the government just hours after the mandate was announced. The plaintiffs say that President Biden signed an "unlawful executive order, adding that "our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully."

  • Additionally, Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi filed a lawsuit and said that the vaccine mandate "suffers from a host of fatal flaws." It says that the mandate "usurps State authority," provides "no reasoning whatsoever" and "violates a litany of constitutional restraints."
  • Last Friday, Texas individually sued the administration. The state attorney general, Ken Paxton, said the government "has repeatedly expressed its disdain for Americans who choose not to get a vaccine" and has committed "abusive federal overreach."

Zoom in: Indiana's attorney general, Todd Rokita, said he plans to file a total of three lawsuits: The one filed along with Louisiana and Mississippi, one challenging the mandate for federal contractors, and another against the vaccine mandate for those working in nursing homes, hospitals and institutions that receive funding from Medicare and Medicaid.

What's next: Georgia state officials said in October they also plan to file a lawsuit, along with South Carolina, West Virginia, Idaho, Alabama and Kansas.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Thursday the state will file a lawsuit against the Biden administration after the mandate is published in the Federal Register.

Catch up quick: Biden on Thursday announced that employers with more than 100 employees must ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or tested weekly by Jan. 4, 2022, or face federal fines starting at nearly $14,000 per violation.

Go deeper: Biden sets a hard deadline for vaccine mandates

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

Nov 24, 2021 - World

New Zealand to reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers from April

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand will reopen to most international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 next year, in a gradual lifting of border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

Why it matters: NZ imposed some of the world's toughest pandemic measures and largely contained the virus to managed hotel quarantine facilities for returning New Zealand residents. Its economy had rebounded before Delta arrived in August and domestic restrictions returned.

Updated 15 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

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