On November 30, 2021, a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky issued an order granting a preliminary injunction curbing implementation and enforcement of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal government contractors and subcontractors. Pursuant to the injunction, federal government contractors and subcontractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee are not currently required to implement or enforce the Biden Administration’s November 10, 2021, updated guidance for the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force – which required full vaccination of federal contractor employees to be fully vaccinated on or before January 18, 2022.
Here, the Court had a very narrow focus: “Can the President use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors?” Ultimately, the Court held, “In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no.” As a result of the Court’s determination that the Biden Administration likely exceeded its authority, the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee has been put on hold.
While this injunction only impacts federal contractors and subcontractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, federal government contractors in other jurisdictions are urged to keep an eye on the various pending legal challenges that may be of more direct impact to their business practices and mandate preparation. In the meantime, those contractors are urged to continue preparation to comply with the mandate.