State Watch

Appeals court denies request to block Maine vaccine mandate for health workers

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An appeals court is allowing a Maine vaccine mandate for health workers to remain in place for now after denying a request for an emergency injunction to block it, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The three-judge panel based in Boston issued a one sentence ruling that did not include an explanation, according to the outlet.

”We are pleased with the decision and will continue to vigorously defend the requirement that health care workers in Maine be vaccinated against COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is a simple and commonsense thing you can do to protect not only yourself, but also your loved ones, co-workers, and the community,” Maine Attorney General Aaron M. Frey, who is representing the state against the lawsuit, said in a statement.

Liberty Counsel, which describes itself as “a Christian ministry” and had filed the lawsuit against Gov. Janet Mills’s (D) vaccine mandate, said it would take the issue to the highest court if need be.

“Governor Mills cannot override federal law and ignore the legal right of all Maine health care workers to request reasonable accommodation for their sincerely held religious beliefs, and forcing shots without exemptions is unlawful,” Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said in a statement on Friday.

“With full briefing due Monday, we look forward to a decision from the Court of Appeals. If that decision is not favorable, we will request emergency relief from the Supreme Court.” 

In August, Mills issued a vaccine mandate that required health care workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 29. That made Friday the deadline to receive the vaccine, given the two weeks it takes after the final dose of the vaccine to be considered fully immunized.

Liberty Counsel, which says it is representing 2,000 employees, sued against the mandate, claiming that no religious exemptions were made for people. Bangor Daily News noted that while no religious exemptions are available, people can seek medical exemptions.

Tags COVID-19 Janet Mills Janet Mills Maine vaccine mandate

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