Court Pauses Vaccine Requirement for Wyoming and 9 Other States
Following a ruling by a federal judge which stopped a vaccine requirement for health care workers, Governor Mark Gordon put out a press release celebrating the decision by the district court in the Eastern District of Missouri.
"This is welcome news for Wyoming’s rural health care facilities, which are already facing staffing challenges without additional unconstitutional burdens being placed on their employees by the federal government. Healthcare employees should not be forced to choose between vaccination and termination."
The proposed mandate would have required employees, volunteers, and contractors working at health care facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare funding to have gotten their first dose of the vaccine prior to Dec. 6.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that the order would have applied to 17 million health care workers across the country.
According to the ruling:
"Because it is evident [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’] significantly understates the burden that its mandate would impose on the ability of health care facilities to provide proper care, and thus, save lives, the public has an interest in maintaining the ‘status quo’ while the merits of the case are determined."
Another reason for the block is because, as the ruling states, Congress has not explicated authorized the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement this type of vaccination requirement, stating:
"In conclusion, even if Congress’s statutory language was susceptible to CMS’s exceedingly broad reading—which it is most likely not—Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact the this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires."
Currently, the vaccination rate at nursing homes is 86.4% for residents and 74.3% for staff, and since the pandemic began there have been 140,055 deaths among resident from COVID-19 and 2,152 deaths among staff.
The ruling applies only to the 10 states that filed the lawsuit which, along with Wyoming, includes Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.
While the judge has prevented this rule from going into effect until a more formal legal battle takes place, other rules by President Joe Biden's administration, as it relates to vaccine requirements, are also working their way through the judicial system.
One of them, an OSHA rule requiring businesses with over 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing, was also stopped by a federal court and is currently awaiting its day in court.