federal judge issued an interim injunction Tuesday to stop President Biden’s national vaccine mandate for health workers scheduled to begin next week.
The injunction, written by Judge Terry A. Doughty, effectively expanded a separate order issued Monday by a federal court in Missouri. The previous state had applied to only 10 states participating in the lawsuit filed against the president’s decision to require all healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes to have at least their first vaccinations by December 6 and to be fully vaccinated by January 4.
“There is no doubt that it is by Congress, not a government agency, to impose vaccination requirements on 10.3 million health care workers,” said Judge Doughty of the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. “It’s unclear whether even a resolution by Congress mandating the vaccine would be constitutional,” he added.
He added that plaintiffs also have an interest in “protecting their citizens from being vaccinated” and to prevent the loss of business and tax revenue that may result from the dismissal.
Many cities and states have introduced their own vaccination mandates for healthcare workers to contain outbreaks that often spread from communities to medical settings such as nursing homes. The Delta variant gained momentum for vaccine imperatives over the summer as it swept nursing homes and caused spikes in staff and resident infections, as well as crushing hospitals in many states with another Covid wave.
Some major hospital chains and a few major hospice operators also requiring personnel vaccinationsBefore the President calls for nationwide harmonization. Vaccinations among healthcare workers have increased since the summer, but cases among residents and staff remain at the thousands reported each week. Nationwide, vaccination rates among nursing home workers are higher than 74 percent, although rates are still much lower in some areas.
a 14 state lawsuits Against the mandate, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said federal mandate would punch holes in state budgets and increase shortages in healthcare facilities.
The Biden administration has tied compliance with the vaccine mandate to federal funding and required millions of workers to be vaccinated in hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities that rely heavily on Medicare or Medicaid programs. But many healthcare providers – particularly nursing home and rural hospital operators – have aggravated the shortage of workers that plagued the industry long before the pandemic, by complaining that staff hesitant to get vaccinated would quit.
These complaints helped fuel opposition in many states, such as Texas and Florida, that vehemently opposed vaccinations, mask-wearing, and other federal policies that were at the center of public health advice during the pandemic.
More than a dozen states and some employers have joined forces to tackle the broader mandate that would require company-wide vaccination for private employers with 100 or more workers. A court of appeal temporarily blocked this authority at the same time, while opponents of the policy continue to argue that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has exceeded its mandate.