US states challenge workplace vaccine mandate

More than half of the US states have filed lawsuits challenging a vaccine mandate for private company employees issued by the administration of President Joe Biden.

The mandate requires that workers at businesses with more than 100 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4 or face weekly tests.

At least 26 states with Republican governors or attorneys general had filed suits with federal courts by Friday to block the mandate.

They argue that the measure tramples civil liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution.

The attorney general of Texas called requiring private businesses to impose vaccinations an abuse of federal power.

Speaking to reporters, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stressed the importance of the mandate.

She said the administration "clearly has the authority to protect workers," adding that it is trying to leave the pandemic behind and save American lives.