Courts temporarily block federal vaccine mandates for contractors, healthcare workers

December 1, 2021 | 12:11 am

Updated November 30, 2021 | 10:21 pm

Daniel Cameron

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A federal district court on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction to halt President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors until the case can be fully litigated in court. Later in the day, a federal district court issued a similar injunction to stop the mandatory vaccination requirement for healthcare workers.

The lawsuit regarding contractors was filed by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron along with the attorneys general of Ohio and Tennessee in November. The preliminary injunction, issued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, stops the mandate from taking effect only in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio.

“This is a significant ruling because it gives immediate relief from the federal government’s vaccine requirement to Kentuckians who either contract with the federal government or work for a federal contractor,” Cameron said in a statement.

The coalition argued that the vaccination requirement is unconstitutional and that the Biden Administration did not have the authority to issue the mandate. In the order issued Tuesday, the court wrote, “Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no.”

A copy of the court’s order can be viewed here.

Regarding the healthcare workers ruling, a federal district court issued a nationwide injunction against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandate, which required vaccinations for workers in healthcare settings that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

The request came from Cameron and 13 other states.  

“We are grateful to the court for the relief this decision brings to burdened healthcare facilities and compassionate healthcare workers, in Kentucky and across our nation, who feared losing their jobs under this mandate,” Cameron said in a statement.

The court found that CMS does not have the authority to issue the mandate, writing “There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million healthcare workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency. It is not clear that even an Act of Congress mandating a vaccine would be constitutional. Certainly, CMS does not have this authority by a general authorization statute.”

Absent this relief from the court, the CMS mandate would have required over 10.3 million health care workers in the United States to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022, and to have received at least the first dose of a vaccine no later than Dec. 6, 2021.  

View a copy of the court filings here and here.

 

December 1, 2021 | 12:11 am

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