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Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday that prevented the Department of Defense from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccination requirement and punishing a group of 35 Navy Seals who refused to get vaccinated and sued the federal government over the mandate.

Why it matters: The injunction, which will likely be appealed by the Biden administration, raises questions on how it might shape the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate for all U.S. troops if ultimately upheld.

The big picture: U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor upheld the Navy Seals' lawsuit and filed the injunction on religious freedom grounds, saying the service members had a right to refuse the vaccine because of their beliefs.

  • As of late December, roughly 98% of all active-duty forces, including reserve members, had received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Go deeper: More than 200 Marines removed for defying COVID vaccine mandate

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker

University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement in sex abuse case

Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and NFL football player, speaks at a press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., in June 2021. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The University of Michigan on Wednesday reached a $490 million settlement with over a thousand survivors who allege that they were sexually assaulted by a former physician in the school's athletic department.

Driving the news: "It's been a long and challenging journey and these survivors have refused to remain silent," attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday.