On Thursday, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to get involved in recent court orders blocking the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in several states and instead allow the requirement to take effect.
In the request, the Biden administration said it was exercising its “express statutory authority” and was protecting Medicare and Medicaid patients through the requirement.
“That requirement will save hundreds or even thousands of lives each month, and the Eleventh Circuit has held that it is a valid exercise of the Secretary’s authority. Yet the requirement has been blocked in ten States by the district court’s preliminary injunction in this case, which a divided panel of the Eighth Circuit declined to stay in a one-sentence order,” said the request.
“This application seeks a stay of that injunction to allow the Secretary’s urgently needed health and safety measure to take effect before the winter spike in COVID-19 cases worsens further,” the request said, also adding: “Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a more paradigmatic health and safety condition than a requirement that workers at hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities take the step that most effectively prevents transmission of a deadly virus to vulnerable patients.”
According to POLITICO, the Department of Justice asked that the nation’s high court stop two injunctions on the mandate, one from the U.S. district court for the Western District of Louisiana and one from the U.S. district court for the Eastern District of Missouri. This comes after a federal appeals court out of New Orleans effectively restored the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in 26 states across the country.
In late November, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked Biden’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, putting into place an injunction on the order across the country, The Daily Wire reported.
The Wall Street Journal reported at the time: “The mandate, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, required all workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to get their first shot of the vaccine by Dec. 6 and to have both shots by Jan. 4. The facilities risked losing federal funding if they didn’t comply.”
After the Louisiana judge halted the mandate for healthcare workers around the nation, the Biden administration went forward with an appeal, and “also asked the 5th Circuit to halt the injunction while the case plays out,” The Hill noted.
“The 5th Circuit granted the administration’s request in part by reducing the scope of nationwide injunction and applying it only to the 14 states that sued. Those states are Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio,” the outlet added.
Along with the injunction by a judge out of Missouri, the requirement is halted in 24 states.
As The Daily Wire reported on Monday, in another move in favor of healthcare workers, “[a] federal court denied Democrat President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice on Monday from being able to stop a temporary block on vaccine mandates on healthcare workers.”
Many have pointed out that the issue was likely to go to the Supreme Court due to the back-and-forth nature of the various court orders. Some hospital systems even started to walk back their COVID-19 staff vaccine mandates due to the recent court decisions.
Hospitals have also been strained for workers, and the vaccine mandates could have resulted in an even more dire situation of a lack of employees in the winter months.
The Wall Street Journal noted, “More recently, thousands of nurses have left the industry or lost their jobs rather than get vaccinated. As of September, 30% of workers at more than 2,000 hospitals across the country surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were unvaccinated.”