WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a vaccination mandate imposed by the administration of President Joe Biden on healthcare workers in ten states, dealing a significant blow to the White House as more legal challenges to the mandate pile up.
The states in question have sued the Biden Administration, claiming that the vaccination mandate had violated the U.S. Constitution, and that mandate’s economic costs are overwhelming.
Judge Matthew Schelp of the Eastern District of Missouri – an appointee of former President Donald Trump – issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate, saying if carried out it would impose a burden on “the ability of healthcare facilities to provide proper care, and thus, save lives.”
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In addition, Schelp stated that his ruling would restore trust in the public, because it, “would ensure that federal agencies do not extend their power beyond the express delegation from Congress.”
The mandate applied to employees at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) healthcare facilities in the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota; employees are supposed to have the first dose of a vaccine before December 6 and their second shot by January 4.
The requirement would have applied to over 17 million workers in approximately 76,000 health care facilities and home health care providers.
Schelp also described the mandate as being “arbitrary and capricious,” and argued that CMS “lacks evidence showing that vaccination status has a direct impact on spreading COVID” in the health care facilities that the mandate would have covered.
“No one questions that protecting patients and health care workers from contracting COVID is a laudable objective,” Schelp said in his ruling. “But the court cannot, in good faith, allow CMS to enact an unprecedented mandate that lacks a ‘rational connection between the facts found and the choice made.’”Judge Matthew Schelp of the Eastern District of Missouri
Biden has issued various mandates to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, but has suffered legal setbacks along the way; most recently, a judge temporarily blocked the White House’s mandate that that private businesses with over 100 employees require workers to be vaccinated, with an option to opt-out for weekly testing.
Nationally, 59 percent of U.S. residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 70 percent have received at least one dose.