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Alabama files lawsuit challenging Biden’s COVID vaccine mandates

Alabama has fourth lowest percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the second highest number of confirmed COVID deaths per capita in U.S.

Gov. Kay Ivey (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Alabama and five other Republican states late Friday filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal workers and contractors.

Alabama’s lawsuit follows a similar lawsuit filed by Florida earlier this week as Republicans continue to push back on the federal mandates aimed at reducing the spread of the deadly virus. 

“I have joined a lawsuit to fight back against the outrageous, overreaching Biden vaccine mandates. From the moment the White House tried to force this vaccine on to Americans, I have said that Alabama is standing strong against it and that the best way to stop this is to go to the courts,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement “I am proud to take this important step and join Georgia and other states to pursue the most effective legal path to stop this vaccine mandate dead in its tracks. Alabamians are overwhelmingly against these egregious, overreaching federal mandates, and I stand firmly with them.”

Biden’s order to require federal workers and contractors to be fully vaccinated is set to take effect in December. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to release a rule as early as this week that will require all employers with more than 100 workers to require employees to be vaccinated or test them weekly, according to a separate order from Biden. 

Named as plaintiffs in the suit are Gov. Kay Ivey and several state departments that employ workers who fall under the federal vaccine mandate, which include the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. 

The lawsuit alleges that Biden’s orders are in violation of the federal Procurement Act and procurement policy, violates the separation of powers and federalism and the Tenth amendment to the Constitution, among other allegations. 

“The sums of money Alabama would lose if it were not to comply with the Contractor Mandate are staggering,” the lawsuit reads. 

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Making a case against the vaccine mandates Alabama in the lawsuit notes the state’s dismal vaccination rate.

“Less than half of Alabamians ages 18 and up are fully vaccinated,” the complaint reads. 

Alabama has the fourth lowest percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID in the nation, at 44.7 percent. Among the states that signed on to the lawsuit are West Virginia, the least vaccinated state in the nation, at 41 percent, and Idaho, with the second lowest percentage, at 43.8 percent. Other plaintiffs are Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and Georgia. 

The five states signed on to the lawsuit make up nearly 10 percent of all confirmed COVID deaths in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alabama has the second most COVID deaths per 100,000 residents in the nation, at 316 deaths per 100,000. Only Mississippi has confirmed more COVID deaths per capita. At least 15,454 Alabamians have died of COVID, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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