Murthy: Court vaccine ruling public health 'setback'

The U.S. Surgeon General on Sunday said a Supreme Court ruling that blocked a nation-wide employer coronavirus vaccine mandate was "a setback for public health."

"Because what these requirements ultimately are helpful for is not just protecting the community at large, but making our workplaces safer for workers as well as for customers."

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, said the ruling does not stop workplaces from voluntarily putting vaccination requirements in place and he urged companies to do so.

"In fact, many have done so already. A third of the Fortune 100 companies have put these in place, and many more outside have."

In a 6-3 decision last week the conservative majority on the court said a federal health-and-safety regulator did not have the authority to require large employers mandate employee vaccination.

The court did, however, allow Biden's administration to enforce a separate vaccine requirement for federally funded healthcare facilities.

"That ruling was upheld, and so 17 million health care workers and settings across the country are still required now to get vaccinated. That will help create a safer environment for health care workers as well as for patients."

The cases tested presidential powers to address a swelling public health crisis that already has killed more than 845,000 Americans.