Supreme Court rules against US jab rule for health workers

Healthcare workers leave on the METRORail following a shift change as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread through the country in Houston, Texas, US, on Dec 29, 2021. (CALLAGHAN O'HARE / REUTERS)

WASHINGTON / PARIS – The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge by Missouri and nine other states – mostly Republican-led – to President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers in healthcare facilities that receive federal funds.

The federal healthcare worker rule requires vaccination for about 10.3 million workers at 76,000 government-funded healthcare facilities

The justices turned away an appeal by the states after a lower court declined to immediately consider their claims that the vaccine rule violates federal administrative law and tramples over powers reserved for the states under the US Constitution. The Democratic president's administration issued the rule in November 2021.

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in January to let Biden enforce the healthcare worker mandate while litigation on its legal merits continued in lower courts. The justices at the same time decided 6-3 to halt his administration's rule requiring vaccines or weekly COVID-19 tests for employees at businesses with at least 100 employees.

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The federal healthcare worker rule requires vaccination for about 10.3 million workers at 76,000 healthcare facilities including hospitals and nursing homes that accept money from the Medicare and Medicaid government health insurance programs for elderly, disabled and low-income Americans.

People wearing protective face masks walk near the glass Pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, Feb 19, 2022. (GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS)


France has entered an eighth wave of the COVID-19 virus, as the winter season approaches, said a leading French health official.

"Yes, we are in this eighth wave," said Brigitte Autran, who is a member of the government's vaccination strategic board.

"All the indicators are on the up," added Autran.

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France's COVID figures published on Monday showed that the seven day moving average of daily new cases had reached, with the latest reported figure of 45,631, its highest level since August 2.

France's number of COVID deaths currently stands at over 151,500, according to the World Health Organization.