Federal judge blocks Biden administration's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in 10 states

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Federal judge blocks Biden administration's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in 10 states
President Joe Biden speaks about the authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus on November 03, 2021 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • A federal judge blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine mandate in 10 states.
  • The injunction applied to workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified medical facilities.

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in 10 states.

Judge Matthew Schelp of the Eastern District of Missouri issued the preliminary injunction for workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified medical facilities in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota, court documents said.

The 10 states had sued the Biden administration, saying the vaccine mandate was unconstitutional.

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Schelp — whom President Donald Trump nominated to the bench in 2019 — said the public would benefit from the ruling "because it would ensure that federal agencies do not extend their power beyond the express delegation from Congress."

He said the mandate would impose a burden "on the ability of healthcare facilities to provide proper care, and thus, save lives."

Biden has issued different mandates to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19

Federal vaccine mandates have been the target of various lawsuits filed over the past few months as states push back on attempts by the Biden administration to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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Earlier in November, over half of US states — mostly Republican-led — filed or joined lawsuits opposing a vaccine mandate for employees of large companies, Insider's Kevin Shalvey previously reported.

Biden, and the executive branch, have implemented vaccine requirements at a few different levels of government. The president issued executive orders requiring federal workers and federal contractors to get vaccinated, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a since paused rule requiring workers at companies with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated or take weekly COVID-19 tests, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a regulation requiring healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to get vaccinated.

The Medicare and Medicaid regulation is what Monday's ruling was about. The agency has said that rule affects 17 million workers at 76,000 healthcare facilities nationwide.

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Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers has encouraged more people to get vaccinated. The White House said on November 23 that the federal government's 3.5 million employees nationwide had "achieved 96.5% compliance," with 92% of federal workers having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Nationally, 59% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 70% have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

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