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Federal Court Revives Health Worker’s Vaccine Mandate in 26 States

A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived Covid-19 vaccine mandates in 26 U.S. states issued by Joe Biden’s administration that require millions of health workers to get vaccinated if they work in facilities that receive federal dollars. 

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. The Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that a lower court had the authority to block the mandate in only the 14 states that had sued and was wrong to impose a nationwide injunction.

The Biden administration mandate requires healthcare facilities to get their staff vaccinated against the coronavirus or lose funding from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which administers the two large government healthcare programs.

The rule initially required more than 2 million unvaccinated healthcare workers to be vaccinated by December 6th. It was blocked before the deadline and remains temporarily blocked in 24 states. 

The 14 states that were involved in the case and sued included Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia. 

Biden’s administration argued that the mandate will potentially save thousands of lives every month, especially with COVID-19 cases and deaths expected to spike with the onset of winter, and the continued spread of new variants such as the Delta variant and the new Omicron variant. 

However, numerous lawsuits have been filed seeking to block vaccine mandates issued by governments and businesses as public health measures amid a pandemic that has killed more than 800,000 Americans.

On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit sided with the Biden administration, agreeing to hear the case initially before a three-judge panel rather than all 16 active judges on the court. The ruling marks a rare legal victory for President Biden in implementing his coronavirus strategy.

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