The requirement for the US military to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus has been upheld in court.

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A legal challenge to the requirement of a coronavirus vaccine for US military personnel has been defeated.

Bloomberg News (TNS)’s Erik Larson

The Biden administration’s push for vaccine mandates, which has been criticized in courts across the country, has survived a legal challenge over vaccines in the military led by former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell.

Powell, who tried unsuccessfully to sway the outcome of the 2020 presidential election through a series of failed lawsuits based on conspiracy theories, was denied a request to temporarily halt the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of disgruntled military personnel.

US District Judge Allen Winsor ruled Friday in Pensacola, Florida, that the suit didn’t come close to meeting the high bar for obtaining a preliminary injunction.

The decision represents a significant early victory for the US Defense Department.

A negative ruling would have been a setback for President Joe Biden, whose broader vaccine mandate for companies with at least 100 employees had been temporarily halted by a federal appeals court a week earlier in a suit brought by Republican-led states.

In the ruling, Winsor, a Trump appointee, stated, “The plaintiffs have not met their extraordinary burden of demonstrating that the mandate lacks any rationality.”

Powell’s Dallas-based nonprofit group, Defending the Republic, filed the suit in October, which also names the Food and Drug Administration.

Powell had asked for a court order to halt the mandate’s implementation as well as the FDA’s full approval of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE’s vaccine.

The judge ruled that the plaintiffs’ claim that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s August decision was illegal was unlikely to succeed.

Because it was not subjected to mandatory public comment, the requirement of 24 is null and void.

The Pentagon issued the rule a day after the FDA gave the Pfizer vaccine full approval, extending an earlier emergency use authorization.

The service members who filed the lawsuit, who came from all over the United States, including Alaska and Florida, accused the FDA of approving the vaccine solely to appease Biden, who has made mandates a cornerstone of the fight to end the pandemic.

“On the merits,” the judge stated, “the plaintiffs have failed to make a substantial showing that the FDA acted without a reasonable scientific basis.”

“The FDA is entitled to a lot of respect.”

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