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Ag group part of challenge against vaccine mandate

Ag group part of challenge against vaccine mandate

The Missouri Farm Bureau and others are challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A U.S. ag organization is part of a lawsuit challenging a vaccine mandate.

On Nov. 12, the Missouri Farm Bureau and groups representing other industries filed a joint petition for review with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) emergency rule vaccine mandate.

The OSHA’s rule, which President Biden announced in September, called for private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing for employees as of Jan. 4, 2022.

Protection against COVID-19 is important but it can’t come at the cost of personal choice, said Garrett Hawkins, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

“This medical decision should be up to each individual and their doctor,” he said in a Nov. 16 statement. “The Biden administration’s mandate is egregious government overreach that takes away individuals’ rights to make their own medical decisions.”

Forcing vaccines could also jeopardize economic recovery.

The unemployment rate in October was 4.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor reported.

Making vaccinations a condition of employment adds stress, Hawkins said.

“At a time of rampant labor shortages, this unlawful mandate only compounds the problem and adds costly and burdensome regulatory red tape on employers,” he said. “The impact on organizations like ours and employers across the country cannot be overlooked.”

Since the groups in Missouri filed their petitions, other U.S. courts have taken action against the vaccine rule.

On Nov. 12, the same date the Missouri Farm Bureau joined its petition, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling to suspend the vaccine mandate.

The OSHA’s rule is “fatally flawed,” the court said in its decision.

And the OSHA is to “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order,” the court added.

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