Court affirms hold on Biden vaccine mandate

A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld its decision to put on hold President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for companies with over 100 workers.

A three-member panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed its ruling despite the Biden administration's position that halting implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate could lead to dozens or even hundreds of deaths.

Circuit Court Judge Kurt Engelhardt wrote that "the mandate is staggeringly overbroad" calling it "a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and workers)."

Vaccine mandates are deeply controversial in the United States. Supporters say they are a must to put an end to the nearly two-year coronavirus pandemic, while opponents argue they violate the U.S. Constitution and curb individual liberty.

The Fifth Circuit judges appeared to agree with the opponents.

The rule was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and mandates that businesses with at least 100 employees require staff to get vaccinated or face weekly tests and mask requirements.

White House officials had no immediate comment on the ruling. Biden announced the requirement in September, telling Americans that "our patience is wearing thin" with those refusing to get inoculated.

The mandate was set to go into effect in January.