US Hospitals Among Tennessee Entities Banned from Asking Workers for COVID Vaccine Proof
Baltimore Factory Forced to Toss Millions of COVID Vaccines to Resume Production
The problems in production have cause Johnson & Johnson to import millions of vaccines from its factory in the Netherlands and miss supply commitments.Emergent was shut down in mid-April by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to a contamination problem with the vaccines produced there. Emergent tossed out tens of millions of doses of the vaccine which were contaminated with an ingredient for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, which was made in the same factory.
Hospitals are among Tennessee entities banned from asking workers for proof of COVID vaccination, the Tennessee Hospital Association said.
State Comptroller Jason Mumpower announced a reversal of a number of exemptions that allowed entities to employ COVID measures against a state law that restricted them. Court rulings that also blocked a few of President's vaccine mandates were cited, the Associated Press reported.
Overnight Health Care: Biden expected to announce vaccine requirement for federal workers | Republican governors revolt against CDC guidance | Pfizer: Third vaccine shot 'strongly' boosts immune response against delta
Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is running pro-vaccine ads across Kentucky, using money from his reelection campaign. If you have any tips, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8.Today: President Biden is expected to unveil a mandate for federal government employees and contractors to get vaccinated or get regular COVID-19 tests.
The state law does allow for health care organizations to require proof of vaccination, but only for "valid and enforceable" Medicare and Medicaid rules. The hospital association said that one of the court rulings "effectively eliminates" the exemption for hospitals.
Two recent court rulings applied to federal contractors, while the other applied to some Medicaid and Medicare health care providers.
There have been 69 exemptions approved since the state began granting them in mid-November. The reversal of some may cause entities to file lawsuits against the state.
Groups that could prove they lose federal funding through compliance with the state law received exemptions. This conflicts with policies the Biden administration enforced. However, Mumpower said his office "can no longer find that compliance" with the state law "would result in a loss of federal funding" because of the latest court rulings against the mandates Biden implemented.
Washington Nationals sued by ex-employees over vaccine firing
The Washington Nationals are being sued by two former employees who were fired for refusing to comply with the team’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Lawrence (Larry) Pardo and Brad Holman were pitching coaches in the Nats’ organization. The two refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons and were fired by the Nats as a result. The team instituted a mandate on Aug. 12 that went into effect on Sept. 10, leading to the firing of both men.Now the two have filed a lawsuit against the club, TMZ Sports reports.
"It is important to note that these exemptions may be reinstated if the injunctions are lifted, and it is legally permissible," the comptroller's office said.
The injunction in question was issued by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove on Tuesday, which blocks the vaccine mandate in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, according to AP.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
The comptroller's office also cited a federal preliminary injunction against the health care workers' vaccine requirement issued by a judge in the Western District of Louisiana, who noted the scope would be nationwide. A similar decision came from a federal judge in Missouri this week.
The move drew praise from Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who tweeted that the comptroller was "protecting Tennesseans' rights."
Under the new state law, Tennessee now largely bars governments and businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, and only lets schools and other public entities require masks in rare, dire public health situations, with limited exceptions.
Overnight Health Care — Feds, military top 90 percent vaccine rate
Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care, where we're following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! We'll be off Thursday and Friday for the holiday and back on Monday. New data shows more than 90 percent of federal workers and military members have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.For The Hill, we're Peter SullivanHappy (almost) Thanksgiving! We'll be off Thursday and Friday for the holiday and back on Monday.
Infractions are punishable through lawsuits, which people can file to recover compensatory damages and reasonable attorney fees if they think an "adverse action" was taken against them under a mask or vaccine requirement. That can range from "denying the person employment, privileges, credit, insurance, access, products, services, or other benefits," to affecting the "compensation, terms, conditions, locations, rights, immunities, promotions, or privileges" of an employee.
The new avenue to sue was a main driver of opposition to the law from two influential business groups: the National Federation of Independent Business of Tennessee and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Some big companies with COVID-19 vaccine requirements had received exemptions in Tennessee. AT&T announced in September that 90,000 employees in the Communications Workers of America union would be required to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 1, "unless they get an approved job accommodation."
Citing the court action, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced late Tuesday that it had "paused our efforts to require proof of vaccination from all employees," said Senior Vice President Dalya Qualls.
Russia tests vaccine science in new Sputnik-Astrazeneca trial
Judy Twigg, a global public health expert at Virginia Commonwealth University, joins The World's host Marco Werman to discuss the science behind Russia's new vaccine cocktail.A medical worker administers a shot of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Gostinny Dvor, a huge exhibition place in Moscow, July 12, 2021. Russia’s health officials have given a go-ahead to testing a combination of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot and the single-dose version of the domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine.
"At the same time, we know COVID-19 is not going away and so we're still encouraging vaccination as the best way for our employees to protect themselves and their loved ones," Qualls said in a statement.
Among the large universities that had succeeded in landing exemptions to the law were Vanderbilt, the University of Memphis, East Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee system.
University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd told employees Wednesday that a mask requirement would be lifted immediately and vaccine requirements under the federal mandate would be lifted while the legal process continues, saying the moves are meant to comply with the state law.
"As new strains of COVID-19 continue to appear, I strongly urge all UT employees who have not been vaccinated to once again consider getting vaccinated," Boyd wrote.
UT-Battelle, the private nonprofit that runs Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was still evaluating the impact of the court order and the comptroller's notice alongside the U.S. Department of Energy, said UT-Battelle spokesperson Morgan McCorkle. McCorkle said the organization can keep requiring masks.
As a federal contractor, UT-Battelle has been locked in a court fight over implementation of its vaccine mandate.
Private companies must require vaccines for workers. It's the only way to get past COVID.
Biden and the US government are limited by politics and unclear authority. But private vaccine mandates are legal, ethical and, above all, effective.The unfortunate consequence is that the highly transmissible delta variant is causing surges in cases, hospitalizations and even deaths throughout the country, particularly in spots with low vaccination rates.
LA begins enforcing strict mandate requiring proof of vax .
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Enforcement began Monday in Los Angeles for one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the country, a sweeping measure that requires proof of shots for everyone entering a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to theaters and gyms to nail and hair salons. While the latest order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus took effect Nov. 8, city officials spent the past three weeks providing business owners the information and resources business they need to comply. “Nobody wants to penalize anyone,” said Sharon Tso, the city's Chief Legislative Analyst, whose office drafted the enforcement rules. “That's why we've been prioritizing education.