U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp in Missouri ruled in favor of 10 states that filed the first legal challenge to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare professionals.
Schelp said the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid lacked congressional authority to require more than 17 million workers in health facilities and home care providers across the country to receive at least one coronavirus shot by Dec. 6. The mandate allowed employees to request medical and religious exemptions.
What happens next? U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have not said whether they will appeal the injunction, which states that maintaining the status quo for hospitals and facilities will prevent worker shortages.
Several other states have mounted similar lawsuits. Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming will be exempt from vaccination requirements while the case is pending.
Florida and several other states sued the Biden administration over a separate mandate the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued for private businesses last month. An appeals court quickly blocked the mandate, prompting OSHA to announce it would abide by the decision.
—With reporting from J.C. Derrick
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.