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MU suspending vaccine requirement after judge blocks mandate

The University of Missouri System suspended requirements for employees to upload their vaccination status and requirements for exemption status filing after a federal court blocked the federal vaccine requirement for employees.

Employees who have already uploaded their vaccination status will have it remain on file if it changes again. Employees who filed for an exemption will have their request left in a pending state until further notice, according to a news release.

The UM System still recommends getting vaccinated to help protect oneself and others, and employees can still voluntarily upload their vaccination status.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said in a news release that the situation is ongoing and may change again.

The federal vaccine mandate was put into effect Sept. 9 with Executive Order 14042. The order applies to federal contractors.

On Nov. 29, a federal judge in St. Louis blocked the Biden administration from enforcing the vaccine mandate for health care workers in Missouri. Nine other states have filed lawsuits challenging the requirements, according to The Associated Press.

Exemptions could be given for either medical or religious reasons. Employees who have no connection or work with federal contractors could also be exempt, according to previous Missourian reporting.

After the Biden administration’s order, there has been pushback in Republican-led states — most recently in St. Louis, but previously in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia. The states have stalled the order in the courts via lawsuits, according to AP.

The other three mandates put forth by the Biden administration have been put on hold. Judges previously ordered a stay on the mandate that requires employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccination.

The UM System employee vaccine requirement was approved 7-1 Nov. 18, with Todd Graves of Edgerton abstaining, and Jeffrey Layman of Springfield voting against it, the Missourian reported.

Before Tuesday, UM System employees had to have their first shot of Pfizer or Moderna by Jan. 4. The one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine would have been required the same day.

Last week, the UM System released information on how employees can go through the vaccine exemption process at all four UM System campuses. Employees who are not vaccinated had until Jan. 18 to apply for exemption, according the MU Incident Command Team.