Coronavirus

Judge halts vaccine mandate in Wyoming

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Federal ruling affects health care workers in 10 states.

A federal judge on Nov. 30 temporarily blocked President Joe Biden's coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states, including Wyoming.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Schelp in Missouri granted a preliminary injunction sought by the states' attorneys general while litigation against the mandates proceeds, the Washington Times reports.

In addition to Wyoming, the mandate is paused in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to the newspaper.

Related: Western states challenge vaccine mandates

“Wyoming continues to face a significant shortage of healthcare workers and this federal mandate will only exacerbate our healthcare staffing issues,” Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said earlier this month. “This administration needs to understand that overreaching policies that force employees to choose between vaccination and termination negatively impact Wyoming communities, rural healthcare, and residents of skilled nursing facilities.”

Schelp wrote that the administration lacks authority to enact "this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate," according to the Times.

Related: Vax mandate put on hold: What's next?

The ruling comes after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its initail stay of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's order that federal contractors and workers for businesses with more than 100 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4. OSHA threatened to fine businesses $14,000 per violation if they do not comply.

That lawsuit was filed by an 11-state coalition that included Arizona, Montana and Wyoming.

The White House has quietly told federal agencies they can hold off on suspending or firing unvaccinated employees until after the holidays, according to ABC News.

TAGS: Safety
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