The U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to the Maine COVID-19 vaccine mandate
The U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to the Maine COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to the Maine COVID-19 vaccine mandate

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, rejecting for the second time a group of plaintiffs seeking a religious exemption.

The judges rejected a request made on behalf of unnamed plaintiffs who identified themselves as Maine health workers objecting to the vaccinations for religious reasons. In November, the court rejected an emergency request from the same plaintiffs who were trying to prevent Maine from enforcing the mandate against them. They are represented by a Christian legal advocate group.

The court earlier rejected other challenges for vaccine mandates, including one focusing on New York’s lack of religious exceptions for health professionals.

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The judges in January blocked President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination or testing mandate for large corporations – a policy that conservative judges considered an inappropriate imposition on many Americans’ lives and health – while approving a separate federal vaccine requirement for healthcare professionals at receiving facilities money from Medicare and Medicaid’s public insurance programs.

When the court, which has a 6-3 Conservative majority, rejected the earlier request in the Maine case in November, three conservative judges were dissenting.

Maine has required hospitals and other health facilities to ensure workers are vaccinated against various diseases since 1989.

The administration of Governor Janet Mills demanded that all health personnel in Maine be fully vaccinated before the end of October as a public health measure during the pandemic. Mills said such workers play a vital role in protecting the health of Maine’s residents and that all precautions should be taken to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

This emergency rule has since been replaced by a permanent regulation requiring vaccination for such workers, the state said in court papers.

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Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing Will Dunham

Our standards: Thomson Reuters trust principles.

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