Supreme Court declines to block vaccine mandate for health workers in Maine

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Courtroom declined Friday to dam Maine’s requirement for well being care employees to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine, though it would not include a non secular exemption.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented, saying they’d have blocked the mandate. Two of the courtroom’s different conservatives, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, stated they agreed the courtroom mustn’t take the case, as a result of it got here on an emergency attraction with out good thing about a full briefing.

The state requirement was challenged by well being care employees who opposed the Covid-19 vaccination mandate on non secular grounds. State officers started implementing the brand new rule on Friday.

Maine’s order applies to well being employees in hospitals, nursing houses and physician’s places of work. State officers stated most of these lined by the order have complied.

Maine allowed non secular exemptions prior to now for well being care employees, daycare workers, college youngsters and faculty college students. However the state eradicated all non-medical vaccination exemptions in 2019. It stated falling inoculation charges had been inflicting communicable ailments to unfold extra quickly.

A bunch of well being care employees sued when the Covid-19 vaccine was required, saying they objected as a result of the vaccine was developed with the help of “fetal cell traces that originated in elective abortions.” The rule pressured them to resolve “what’s extra essential to them — their deeply held non secular beliefs or their skill to work anyplace of their state in order that they will feed their households.”

Not one of the Covid-19 vaccines include fetal cells, in accordance with printed knowledge about their composition. Through the testing phases for his or her vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer used cell traces replicated from fetal cells taken 50 years in the past. Johnson &Johnson used a unique cell line in among the manufacturing phases of its vaccine.

Legal professionals for the state informed the courtroom that Maine was not participating in non secular discrimination, as a result of the regulation applies to all healthcare employees and isn’t meant to limit any specific non secular apply. “The item of the current modification to the rule is to stop the unfold of Covid-19 amongst healthcare employees in high-risk settings, defend sufferers and people from illness and demise, and defend Maine’s healthcare system,” the attorneys wrote.

“Most healthcare facility outbreaks in Maine are the results of healthcare employees bringing Covid-19 into the power,” the state informed the Supreme Courtroom.

Writing for the three dissenters, Gorsuch stated the state was not treating all healthcare employees equally, as a result of these with a medical objection may refuse to take the vaccine, whereas these with non secular objections can not.

“Well being care employees who’ve served on the entrance line of a pandemic for the final 18 months are actually being fired and their practices shuttered. All for adhering to their constitutionally protected non secular beliefs. Their plight is worthy of our consideration,” he stated.

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