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Federal Judge Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers in 10 States

A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers has just been temporarily blocked for hospitals that receive federal funding within 10 states. 

A federal judge issued a temporary injunction Monday citing multiple reasons. U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp said the mandate would result in staffing shortages without evidence that it would actually prevent the spread of the virus.

Health Care Mandate Will Cause Health Staff Shortages

"The scale falls clearly in favor of healthcare facilities operating with some unvaccinated employees, staff, trainees, students, volunteers and contractors, rather than the swift, irremediable impact of requiring healthcare facilities to choose between two undesirable choices — providing substandard care or providing no healthcare at all," the judge wrote, according to The Hill.

The states listed in the order include Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The health care vaccine mandate was issued earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

It covered more than 17 million workers nationwide in about 76,000 health care facilities that get funding from the government health programs Medicare and Medicaid. A deadline of Dec. 6 was set for those workers to have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to CNN, Schelp noted uncertainties about the vaccine's effects, including its ability to prevent "disease transmission by those vaccinated."

"And while, according to CMS, the effectiveness of the vaccine to prevent disease transmission by those vaccinated is not currently known, what is known based on the evidence before the Court is that the mandate will have a crippling effect on a significant number of healthcare facilities in Plaintiffs' states, especially in rural areas," he said.

Government Overreach

Schelp also focused on government overreach, saying the federal government hasn't been given the authority to mandate these vaccines across the states. He called the mandate "politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing.” 

“CMS seeks to overtake an area of traditional state authority by imposing an unprecedented demand to federally dictate the private medical decisions of millions of Americans. Such action challenges traditional notions of federalism," Schelp wrote in his order. 

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt spearheaded the lawsuit on behalf of the states. He said the ruling “pushes back on the overreach of power" by those who are “using the coronavirus as a tool” for control over people. 

Private Sector Mandate Is on Hold Too

The news comes less than a month after a three-judge panel temporarily halted Biden's vaccine mandate requiring private companies with over 100 employees to force their staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

CBN News previously reported that the private sector order would have gone into effect on Jan. 4 under an emergency temporary standard from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

It called for businesses to either require vaccinations – or – weekly testing for unvaccinated employees, and employees would pay for those tests.

If that mandate is reinstated by another court, then businesses that don't find a way to enforce it will face a $14,000 fine per violation, which would increase with repeat offenses.

While many federal employees and healthcare workers report they are complying with the mandate, thousands more are filing lawsuits and seeking exemptions on religious grounds. 

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