Supreme Court will not block Maine’s vaccination mandate
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court has dismissed an emergency appeal by healthcare workers in Maine to block a vaccination warrant that went into effect on Friday.
Three conservative judges noted their dissent. The state does not offer a religious exemption to employees of hospitals and nursing homes who risk losing their jobs if they are not vaccinated.
Only New York and Rhode Island also have vaccination mandates for healthcare workers who do not have religious exemptions. The two are the subject of court battles, and a court has allowed New York workers to seek religious exemptions while the trial unfolds.
The High Court has previously turned down Indiana University students and New York teachers who opposed the vaccination. The university and the city allow people to apply for religious exemptions.
The Maine requirement was put in place by Democratic Governor Janet Mills. A federal judge in Maine declined to stop the warrant, concluding that the trial was unlikely to be successful. The October 13 decision sparked a wave of appeals that landed, for the second time, in the Supreme Court.
The Liberty Counsel, who filed the complaint, said they represent more than 2,000 healthcare workers who don’t want to be forced to get vaccinated.
Dozens of healthcare workers have chosen to quit, and a hospital in Maine’s second largest city has already cut some admissions due to an “acute shortage” of nurses.
But most health workers complied, and Maine residents in general supported the vaccine. The Maine Hospital Association and other health care groups support this requirement.
Last week, Maine became the fourth state to reach the milestone of 70% of all residents vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These are the vaccines we all hoped for and prayed for a year ago,” Mills said. “Now we have them and we should take full advantage of them. “
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