By Kaitlynn Milvert
In a pair of rulings issued January 13, the Supreme Court put on hold the federal vaccine-or-test requirements for large employers, but allowed federal vaccination requirements for health care workers to take effect while they are litigated in the lower federal courts.
The Court decisions each addressed questions of whether federal agencies — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — have authority to set these vaccination-related requirements.
In doing so, the Court drew new and unprecedented lines between the kinds of risks that agencies operating outside of the health care context — such as OSHA — have power to address through federal regulations. The Court’s decisions on these issues are likely to loom large in future litigation as federal vaccine requirements continue to be litigated in the lower courts.