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Judge blocks federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers after Texas, other states sue

A woman can be seen through a car window holding a sign that says "Jab or Job" with a red slash through the words.
Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune
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Protesters rallied against Houston Methodist Hospital's COVID-19 vaccine mandate outside the Baytown facility on June 7, 2021. Several employees who chose not to inoculate themselves worked their last shift that day and were facing job termination, a policy criticized by the protesters as unfair and unauthorized.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had called the mandate “an unprecedented federal vaccine decree” on health care workers.

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers from going into effect nationwide next week after Texas and other states challenged the order.

Louisiana Western District U.S. Judge Terry Doughty’s ruling follows the same decision on Monday from Missouri U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp. However, Schelp’s ruling applied for only 10 states.

Doughty wrote in his decision that the mandate exceeds the Biden administration’s authority.

"If human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency,” Doughty wrote.

The Biden administration issued an emergency order, which went into effect Nov. 4, requiring eligible workers at health care facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to get the first shot of a two-dose vaccine or a one-dose vaccine by Dec. 6.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued a few days later, calling the Biden administration’s order “an unprecedented federal vaccine decree” on health care workers.

Texas has also sued the Biden administration over separate vaccine mandates for big businesses and federal contractors.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.