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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Photo: Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A number of Republican governors and the Republican National Committee vowed to take the Biden administration to court over the president's plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or testing for more than 80 million private-sector employees.

Driving the news: The new rule is part of a six-pronged plan by the administration to ramp up efforts to combat the nation's latest surge in virus cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant.

  • The plan also mandates vaccines for federal workers and contractors, without the option of testing out.
  • "This is not about freedom or personal choice," Biden said in a national address Thursday. "It is about protecting yourself and those around you, the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love."

What they're saying: "I will pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration," Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted.

  • "Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied. Now small businesses, workers, and families across the country will pay the price. Like many Americans, I am pro-vaccine and anti-mandate,” RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted her state would, "stand up to defend freedom," adding to the President, "see you in court."
  • Gov. Pete Ricketts released a statement that said Nebraska would "stand up to President Biden's overreach" and would work the state's Attorney General to explore their options.
"This dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good...We must and will push back,"
— Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

Other Republican figures also voiced their discontent:

  • "President Biden has made small business an enemy of his administration. Forcing main street to vax or pay a fine will not only crush an economy he's put on life support—it's flat-out un-American," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted.
  • In a series of tweets, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) called the mandate "absolutely unconstitutional."
  • "We must fight back against medical tyranny that dangerously violates Americans' individual freedoms," tweeted Rep. Barry Moore (Ala.).

Go deeper

Dec 18, 2021 - Health

WHO: Omicron cases doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in places with local spread

People wear face masks as they walk in a pedestrian street in the city of Cologne, Germany, on Dec. 18. Photo: Ina FassBender/AFP

The Omicron variant has been detected in 89 countries and has a "substantial growth advantage" over the Delta variant, the World Health Organization announced.

State of play: COVID-19 cases detected with the newest variant are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in areas where there is community spread, WHO said.

Dec 17, 2021 - Health

Study: J&J vaccine provides little or no protection against Omicron

A patient receives the Sputnik Light vaccine during a home vaccination visit in Kazan, Russia. Photo: Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images

COVID-19 vaccines produced by Johnson & Johnson and China's Sinopharm, as well as the Russian-made Sputnik V, were found to provide little or no protection against the newly emerging Omicron variant, according to a study out this week.

Driving the news: The study, which was published as a preprint and isn't yet peer-reviewed, found that just three out of 13 people who were fully vaccinated with China's Sinopharm vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies against Omicron.

Updated Dec 18, 2021 - Health

Report: CDC overcounts millions of vaccinations

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. government has overcounted the number of Americans who are at least partly vaccinated against the coronavirus, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Millions more people than initially thought are unprotected as coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across the country.