When Trump calls for a ‘scoop’ on the COVID-19 vaccine: ‘We need to get it right’
Posted On August 9, 2021
The U.S. government’s plan to roll out a national COVID vaccine next year has been delayed by a court ruling that will require the government to obtain approval from a judge first.
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services cannot delay the vaccine until a federal judge rules on the constitutionality of a law that requires a vaccine’s effectiveness to be proven before it is given to people.
The government filed its appeal in January, saying it would not have to get approval from the courts before using federal money to fund a vaccine.
The department says it needs to show it is safe and effective before using the money.
“The department does not have the authority to delay the delivery of the vaccine or the process of administering it until a court finds that the proposed program complies with the Constitution,” the department said in a statement Friday.
“The government must prove that the program is safe, effective, and meets the requirements of the Constitution, before it can use federal funds to provide the vaccine.”
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The group is asking a judge to overturn the judge’s ruling that the vaccine’s efficacy can only be proven after it has been approved by a federal agency.
The group argues that the law is unconstitutional because it gives a federal government agency wide latitude to decide what constitutes an effective vaccine and that it violates the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide by discriminating against vulnerable populations.
The judge in the lawsuit, Judge Robert Hinkle, previously said he would rule on the case on April 1.
The ACLU asked for a stay pending the ruling.
The American Civil Liberty Union says it is disappointed with the court’s decision, which was announced Friday.
“We believe that the court has failed to hold a hearing on this case and is allowing the Department to delay it indefinitely,” the group said in an emailed statement.
“Congress, not the courts, should have the final say on vaccine programs.”
In February, the Trump administration sought to stop using federal funds for the COV-19 vaccination program and asked a federal court to order it to stop.
The court agreed.
The Justice Department argued that Congress gave the agency wide discretion to determine whether a vaccine was effective and that the department should not be allowed to block it from being given to Americans.
The department argued that the courts did not have authority to stop the program, which has been administered to nearly 1.3 million people worldwide since March 2016.
In the court filing, the ACLU said that the government’s argument that it had no choice but to wait until a judge could rule on whether the program was safe and efficacious before it could use federal money was “unfounded.”
The group also argued that a judge had no jurisdiction to order the government back to the drawing board.