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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Senate voted 52-48 Wednesday to repeal President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employees, a symbolic move that got two Democrats to cross party lines and oppose the federal power grab.

On September 9, Biden announced he was directing the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to draft a rule to “require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.” If it takes effect, it is expected to affect around 84 million employees from roughly 1.9 million private businesses, further exacerbating staffing shortages across the U.S. economy.

Fox News reported that the Republican resolution, brought under the Congressional Review Act (enabling oversight of presidential executive orders), won the support of every GOP senator as well as Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana.

“It’s daunting to families as they’re facing higher bills for their gas and their heating,” West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said. “They are very concerned about what this would do to their long-term ability to get a job, keep a job. I think they realize that this is an invasion into their own abilities to make decisions about themselves in their health care.”

The repeal will not actually become law, as it would have to clear a vote in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and survive a veto from Biden. But the vote puts senators on the record ahead of the midterm elections and registers disapproval of the mandate, which faces an uncertain future even without congressional action. 

Lawsuits from numerous states and private entities have led the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily block it over “grave statutory and constitutional issues,” among them the fact that the mandate “grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.” The administration is complying, for the moment, while asking businesses to voluntarily force their employees to vaccinate.

Meanwhile, a body of data suggests that mass vaccination has failed to end the pandemic. The federal government considers more than 197 million Americans (59% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet data from Johns Hopkins University reported in October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 in 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000).

Vaccine hesitancy persists thanks to unaddressed concerns about the vaccines’ safety, stemming largely from the fact that they were developed and released far faster than any previous vaccine.

Defenders stress that their development did not start from scratch, but rather relied on years of prior research into mRNA technology; and that one of the innovations of Operation Warp Speed was conducting various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, eliminating delays unrelated to safety. However, those factors do not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on their own — to just three months apiece. 

While cases of severe harm reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after taking COVID shots do not establish causation and represent less than one percent of total doses administered in the United States, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” May reporting from NBC News quotes several mainstream experts acknowledging “gaps” in federal vaccine monitoring.

Additionally, many of the unvaccinated simply consider it unnecessary in light of significant evidence that immunity from prior COVID infection lasts longer and is more durable than immunity from vaccination, while religious and/or pro-life Americans harbor moral objections to taking something developed and/or tested with the use of fetal cells from aborted babies.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate and arguably America’s leading opponent of COVID-related mandates and restrictions, predicted Thursday that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is “​​going to absolutely deep-six” the vaccine mandate. “You can take that to the bank. The Sixth Circuit is never going to uphold what OSHA did.”

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here