The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Republicans ramp up challenges of Biden vaccine mandate

President Biden delivers remarks on the authorization of the coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Nov. 3 in Washington. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)
Placeholder while article actions load
Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

This live coverage has ended. For the latest coronavirus news, click here.

The Biden administration said on Thursday that large companies have until Jan. 4 to ensure that their workforces are fully vaccinated — to the fury of Republican leaders who say the sweeping new vaccine mandate infringes on personal liberties. Since the mandate was initially announced in September, Republicans have pledged to battle it in court, statehouses and Congress. The rules will cover 84 million workers in the private sector.

Governors or attorneys general from more than a dozen states have begun filing legal challenges. They include Iowa’s governor, who vowed “immediate legal action” Thursday. Senate Republicans said they would try to repeal the rule using a law known as the Congressional Review Act. In Alabama, lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit employers from firing an employee for refusing a vaccine for religious or medical reasons.

Although 57 percent of adults in the United States support a vaccine requirement for large employers, according to Kaiser Family Foundation’s Oct. 28 poll, 72 percent of Republicans say they do not want their workplaces to require vaccination.

U.S. coronavirus cases tracker and map

Here’s what to know

  • New York City’s mayor-elect Eric Adams says he plans to review the vaccine requirements now in place for municipal workers, which have been unpopular among some unions representing the city’s firefighters and police officials.
  • Novavax said Thursday that it has submitted its coronavirus vaccine candidate to the World Health Organization for emergency-use listing, potentially expanding the global supply of doses for countries that have struggled to immunize their populations.
  • British officials approved Merck’s experimental drug molnupiravir, marking the first authorization by a public health body for an oral antiviral treatment for covid-19 in adults.
  • Crowded airports and gatherings are back this season. Our interactive guide will help you navigate them as safely as possible.