Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States, said President Biden administration is “prepared to defend” its COVID-19 vaccine rule for companies with 100 or more employees, which was temporarily blocked by a federal appeals court.
“The president and the administration wouldn’t have put these requirements in place if they didn’t think that they were appropriate and necessary, and the administration is certainly prepared to defend them,” Vivek Murthy said on Sunday with ABC News’ “This Week.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a federal vaccine rule requiring workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by January 4 or comply with mask requirements and weekly testing.
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy tells @MarthaRaddatz that the Biden administration is “prepared to defend” sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandates against legal challenges, says new requirements are “appropriate and necessary.” https://t.co/wBePNDjF7m pic.twitter.com/B3ZVCk6ODt
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) November 7, 2021
“It’s important we take every measure possible to make our workplaces safer. It’s good for people’s health, it’s good for the economy, and that’s why these requirements make so much sense,” Murthy said.
Murthy’s remarks came a day after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is made up of three judges appointed by Republican presidents, declared that the mandate has “grave statutory and constitutional issues,” temporarily halting the rule’s implementation.
In response to oppositions, Murthy said, “Let’s step back a moment and look at why these are so important. Throughout our history, we have seen that we have used vaccine requirements to protect the population. Started back with George Washington, in fact, when he required troops to be inoculated for smallpox. In the 1800s, schools started having vaccine requirements.”
When asked if the vaccine rule proposed by President Biden could be extended to smaller businesses with fewer than 100 employees, Murthy said, “Nothing is off the table at this time.” But for the time being, the emphasis is on enforcing the current OSHA rule.”