Boost on US vaccine mandate leaves employers “totally confused”

“You can’t really call for booster shots yet,” he said. “It has not been approved by any federal agency.”

JPMorgan Chase, whose decision to require vaccines is complicated by its sprawling retail operations across the United States, declined to comment on how the court’s most recent ruling, as well as the recent spike in cases , affect any plans to impose vaccines. But the bank told its U.S. employees who do not work in bank branches on Friday that “each group should assess who should come to the office, work priorities, and who should return to work from home on a more regular basis over the next few years. weeks. . “

Walmart, which has mandated vaccines primarily for its corporate staff, also did not comment on expanding the requirement. Only 66% of its roughly 1.6 million U.S. employees are vaccinated, according to data compiled by the Shift Project at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

The legal issues over the OSHA rule are far from resolved. Immediately after the United States District Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on Friday, several of the many plaintiffs who challenged the rule called on the Supreme Court to intervene in its “emergency” case. “. Sixth Circuit appeals are considered by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who under Supreme Court rules could in theory make a decision on his own, but is more likely to send the case back to the full court. Supreme Court. With the Labor Ministry now delaying full implementation of its rule until February 9, judges have several weeks to request abbreviated briefings if they wish.

“Things literally come and go within hours,” said Sydney Heimbrock, industrial and government affairs advisor at Qualtrics, who works with hundreds of clients on using the company‘s software to track immunization status. employees. “The confusion comes from on-again-off-again, is it a rule or is it not a rule? Litigation, appeals, setting aside decisions and making decisions.

Even the spread of Omicron has not changed the position of some of the vaccine rule’s most ardent opponents. The National Retail Federation, one of the trade groups challenging the administration’s vaccine rule, is among those who have filed a petition with the Supreme Court. The group is in favor of vaccinations but has pushed companies to have more time to carry out mandates. Yet even though it fights the rule of administration, the federation also holds calls twice a week with members to compare notes on how to implement it.

“There is no doubt that the increased number of variants like Omicron certainly does not make it any less dangerous,” said Stephanie Martz, group executive director and general counsel. “The legitimate question that remains is: is this inherent in the workplace? “

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