Judge Rejects Challenge to Southwest’s Vaccine Mandate
A federal judge has rejected a bid by pilots to block Southwest Airlines from imposing a vaccine mandate, saying the airline is within its power to require vaccination as a safety measure.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn denied the request by the airline’s pilot union to issue a temporary restraining order against the airline’s requirement. The judge said Tuesday that Southwest is within its authority to require vaccinations to improve safety and maintain its operations.
Alabama Hospital Defies Biden Administration, Ends COVID Vaccine Requirement for Staff
Bowing to the threat of legal action against it, one Alabama hospital has rescinded its requirement that all staff be vaccinated against the coronavirus. UAB Hospital in Birmingham said it will wait to learn how the federal vaccine mandates announced by President Joe Biden play out before imposing any requirement, according to WBRC-TV.
Last week, the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty said the hospital was violating state law, according to Al.com. The letter said the state’s ban on vaccine passports means government entities cannot require anyone to disclose vaccine information.
“Consequently, UAB Hospital may not require its employees to disclose whether they have been vaccinated or not. Likewise, the Alabama Attorney General has examined the law and concluded that ‘no government, school, or business in Alabama may demand that a constituent, or customer, respectively, be vaccinated for COVID-19 or show proof of his or her vaccination for COVID-19,” the letter said.
Healthcare Workers Back in Court to Battle New York State Vaccine Mandate
A hearing will be held Wednesday on the lawsuit by some New York State healthcare workers challenging the state’s vaccine mandate.
Gov. Kathy Hochul‘s order did not make exemptions for those with religious objections.
Some workers sued and won a preliminary injunction, blocking the state from enforcing the mandate. On Wednesday, the governor’s appeal of that injunction will be heard by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
Senate Panel Hits YouTube, TikTok, Snap Over Kids
Senators put executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat on the defensive Tuesday, questioning them about what they’re doing to ensure young users’ safety on their platforms.
Citing the harm that can come to vulnerable young people from the sites — ranging from eating disorders to exposure to sexually explicit content and material promoting addictive drugs — the lawmakers also sought the executives’ support for legislation bolstering protection of children on social media. But they received little firm commitment.
“The problem is clear: Big Tech preys on children and teens to make more money,” Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said at a hearing by the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection.
Protesters Rally in Rochester Against Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Mandate
Scores of protesters took to the streets of downtown Rochester on Monday to express opposition to Mayo Clinic’s vaccine mandate.
As of Oct. 14, about 8,000 workers — or 12% of Mayo’s workforce system-wide — were unvaccinated. Mayo says those employees must get vaccinated or apply for medical or religious exemption by November. Staff not in compliance with the policy by Jan. 3, 2022 will be terminated.
Why Vaccine Passports Are Causing Chaos
The trouble is that these passes are not interoperable. Most look the same: a QR code on a smartphone or piece of paper. Yet even scanning the codes can be a problem: different verifier apps read different passes. Once scanned, the codes serve up widely varying information, depending on the national or local health systems or attitudes about privacy.
Some vaccine passports, like the CommonPass used in parts of America, share raw data on vaccination status. Others, like the one issued by the NHS, yield only a symbol, a tick or a cross. And the rules of the game are not fixed. During a surge of infections this month, Israel retracted its “green pass” from 2m people who had not yet received booster jabs.
Unvaccinated Los Angeles City Workers to Fork Over $130 a Week for Testing, Given Two More Months to Comply
Los Angeles city employees who have not been vaccinated will have to fork over $130 each week to cover COVID-19 testing but will have a longer deadline to get the shots or lose their jobs, according to a plan passed by lawmakers Tuesday.
City workers originally had until Oct. 20 to get fully vaccinated but now they have until Dec. 18. During the extended period, unvaccinated workers will have $65 deducted from their paychecks twice a week to cover the cost of weekly testing, or $260 per pay period.
Newhouse Takes on Biden COVID Vaccine Mandate for Hanford. Alternative Proposed
A bill introduced by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., would allow Hanford and other workers for the federal government to provide proof of COVID-19 antibodies in lieu of getting vaccinated.
“Federal employees who have opted not to receive the vaccine because they have natural immunity developed after recovering from the virus do not deserve to be fired,” Newhouse said in a statement Tuesday after introduction the legislation.
DC Council to Consider COVID Vaccine Mandate for Students, Public Hearing Underway
The DC Council is considering a vaccine mandate for students at area schools. A group of parents pushing for vaccines for students wrote a letter to the council.
The purpose of the legislation is to require all students eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in DC Public Schools, public charter schools, independent, private, and parochial schools to get the shot by Dec. 15, 2021. The vaccination mandate would be waived if the student is exempt for religious or medical reasons.
A Colorado Lawsuit Is Testing the Boundaries of Religious Exemptions to COVID Vaccines
The doctor, one of the protagonists of this story, is a pediatric intensive care specialist in Colorado Springs working with some of the sickest children in the state. She’s unvaccinated against COVID-19, despite both state and employer mandates requiring vaccination.
“In a religiously pluralistic society, we have to respect people’s religious objections,” said Peter Breen, an attorney representing the doctor and her co-plaintiff, a medical student at the University of Colorado (CU) School of Medicine.
The two plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against CU are anonymous — they go by Dr. Jane Doe and John Doe in the court documents. Both say that requiring them to take a coronavirus vaccine conflicts with their religious beliefs.
VA, DOD Outline Approaches to Enforcing Vaccine Mandate
The two largest departments, the Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have separately started rolling out details on how they will enforce the Biden administration’s Coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal employees, both stressing that those who do not comply and are not eligible for an exception ultimately will face firing.
Those two departments account for about half of the federal workforce outside the Postal Service; while the DOD is the larger of the two, the VA has been the most closely watched since most of its workforce was subject to an earlier deadline to be fully vaccinated under a mandate for its Veterans Health Administration that predated the general one.
Chicago Aldermen Push for Special Meeting on Vaccine Mandate That Has Prompted Lawsuits, Police Union Defiance
More than a dozen Chicago aldermen have filed notice to force a special meeting of the City Council later this week to undo Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate on city workers.
Under City Council rules, any three aldermen can call a special meeting to discuss ordinance proposals or other issues. Southwest Side Ald. Silvana Tabares, 23rd, has been leading an effort to repeal Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate and give the City Council a vote on vaccination rules and consequences for breaking them. She signed the letter calling for the special meeting, along with mostly Northwest and Southwest Side aldermen whose wards include many city workers.
California Shuts Down Second In-N-Out Location for Defying COVID Rules: ‘Unreasonable’
Northern California health officials shut down another In-N-Out Burger restaurant location Tuesday for allowing indoor dining without checking patrons for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
Contra Costa County suspended the permit of the In-N-Out located at 570 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill after the business received an additional two citations. The In-N-Out locations in Pinole and San Ramon also each received violation notices Tuesday for violating the vaccine order.
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