A bloc of health groups have issued a plea to the United States’ business community; implement President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate voluntarily even if it is stuck in court. 

On Thursday, the American Medical Association (AMA) along with over 60 healthcare organizations and professionals shared an open letter in which they ask American businesses to support President Biden’s Sept. 9 vaccine mandate. 

“Instead of wasting time in court trying to overturn these mandates, business leaders should be focused on how to protect their employees from COVID through vaccination. That’s the only way we’ll be able to return to normal and stabilize our economy,” said Ezekial Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, who organized the statement.

“We’ve seen over and over that employer vaccine mandates work to raise vaccination rates, and they don’t cause workforce shortages. It’s time for the business community to step up and show the leadership our nation needs now.”

In their letter, they pointed out that vaccinations go a long way in reducing one’s chances of dying or being hospitalized if they contract COVID-19. They also reiterate that the available vaccines are safe and effective, pushing back on the rampant misinformation that has fueled a stubborn hesitancy among many unvaccinated Americans. 

Robert M. Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),  emphasized the difficulties the country will continue to face without boosting the U.S vaccination rate.

“We cannot get this pandemic under control without increasing the vaccination rate,” said Wachter. And, at this point, the most effective way to do that is through mandates – which will protect workers and create safer workplaces. We encourage all employers to voluntarily enact this mandate as soon as possible.”

To date, the total number of Americans who died from COVID-19 stands at 762,994 and the percentage of those who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine stands at 79.8%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since September, the Biden administration has embarked on a booster shot campaign for eligible Americans while federal regulators have granted approval for vaccines for those as young as 5-11 years of age.

The administration had hoped that its vaccine mandate from September would raise the number of Americans who will get vaccinated. For weeks, it received a boost from business executives nationwide who supported the mandate and the White House had finalized a Labor Department rule to guide employers’ implementation of their mandates. 

Almost immediately after announcing the executive order, Biden was met with fierce resistance from Republican governors and attorney generals who argued that it was imposing an unconstitutional requirement on firms. 

On Nov. 6, a federal appeals court in New Orleans halted implementation of the vaccine mandate following a petition from five Republican states opposed to it. On Nov. 12, OSHA announced that it suspended implementation of the rule in line with the court order.