Judge blocks Biden vaccine rule, citing “liberty interests of the unvaccinated”

President Joe Biden speaks in front of a sign advertising the vaccines.gov website.

Enlarge / President Joe Biden speaks about the authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 on November 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Drew Angerer )

A federal judge yesterday blocked a Biden administration COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, granting a request for preliminary injunction filed by Republican attorneys general from 14 states.

US District Judge Terry Doughty ruled that the government lacks authority to implement the rule that “requires the staff of twenty-one types of Medicare and Medicaid healthcare providers to receive one vaccine by December 6, 2021, and to receive the second vaccine by January 4, 2022.” Providers that don’t comply face penalties, including “termination of the Medicare/Medicaid Provider Agreement.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate regulates over 10.3 million health care workers in the US, of which 2.4 million are unvaccinated. The Biden vaccine rule is being challenged by the attorneys general from Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. The Republican AGs’ lawsuit was filed against CMS and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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