After more than three years, the COVID-19 national public health emergency has officially ended as of May 11.
Part of the national strategy for the Biden administration involved a vaccine mandate requiring federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated against the virus as a condition of employment.
In sync with the end of the national emergency, President Joe Biden has officially terminated the vaccine mandate through an executive order, which is effective on May 12. But, advocacy groups are calling for justice and accountability for those who were coerced into receiving a shot, as well as for those who suffered consequences for declining the jab.
Marcus Thornton, president of Feds for Medical Freedom, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, seeking to hold the State Department accountable for what he says is “religious discrimination” and “persecution” of workers who declined vaccination on religious grounds.
Plaintiffs named in the lawsuit include a military veteran with brain injuries whose supervisor “laughed aloud” when she asked for a medical exemption, as well as multiple others attesting to hostile work environments and harassment for declining vaccination.
“For almost two years, Feds for Medical Freedom has fought against forced vaccine requirements that are unconstitutional, immoral, and deeply damaging to employee recruitment and retention within the federal government,” Thornton said in a statement. “Our efforts led to an injunction against that mandate which saved the jobs of over 400,000 unvaccinated or undeclared federal workers. On May 11, the Administration will finally abandon, for now, its effort to coerce American citizens to get vaccinated against their will.”
President Biden instituted the vaccine mandate on Sept. 9, 2021, backtracking on a campaign promise that he wouldn’t. Throughout numerous legal challenges, the Biden administration fought to keep the mandate in place, requiring roughly 3.5 million government workers to be vaccinated if they did not qualify for a religious or medical exemption. Other local jurisdictions around the country followed suit and enacted similar mandates.
More than half of federal workers disagreed with the administration’s vaccine mandate.
Feds for Medical Freedom has had numerous successful legal challenges, resulting in courts striking down Biden’s order.
“While the end of the COVID vaccine mandates is something to celebrate, the fact is that there are many federal employees and contractors who were fired, chased out of their workplace by hostile supervisors, or endured harassment for almost two years,” Thornton said.
“Those men and women deserve justice and compensation, and we will continue to fight for them. New databases were created to document those who, often for religious reasons, did not comply,” he added. “Until those databases are dismantled, they will continue to be used to discriminate against employees of faith. Furthermore, there are bad actors within the federal government who have perpetrated other policies rooted in discrimination and a disregard for civil liberties, and we will relentlessly pursue accountability for them.”