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Published December 1, 2021

Judge Expands Injunction Against Vaccine Mandate

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
Trinity Hospital in Minot [Photo: Nicole DesRosier]
Trinity Hospital in Minot [Photo: Nicole DesRosier]

Reversal for President Biden 

Healthcare workers will no longer be forced to choose between termination or complying with President Biden’s national vaccine mandate for COVID-19. A federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, or CMS, was the agency that issued the vaccine mandate presented to the court. 

“There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million health care workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency.” Judge Terry A. Daughty

In his injunction, Judge Terry A. Daughty wrote that, “There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million health care workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency. It is not clear that even an act of Congress mandating a vaccine would be constitutional.” 

A separate federal court in Missouri issued a preliminary injunction on Monday, halting the CMS vaccine mandate in 10 states, including North Dakota. Tuesday’s ruling, which included 14 more states, halts the mandate nationally.  

The administration of Minot’s Trinity Hospital responded to Monday’s preliminary injunction with a letter to their employees stating, “until further court action, the CMS rule cannot be implemented or enforced.” 

Trinity said what happens next is dependent on “subsequent ruling on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.” CMS had ordered hospitals to comply by having all employees receive the first of two COVID vaccine shots by December 6 and the second shot by January 4 or be terminated. 

Following Monday’s ruling North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum voiced his approval of COVID vaccines but called a vaccine mandate “blatant federal overreach.” 

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, whose state was included in Monday’s ruling, issued a statement calling vaccination the best defense against COVID but added, “I firmly believe in Iowans’ right to make health care decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their families, and I remain committed to protecting those freedoms. President Biden should do the same.” 

The court rulings this week are preliminary only, with further arguments before a judge and appeals likely to follow. 

Trinity administration said they are in the process of developing a list of decision points “before choosing a path forward” and indicated the hospital would seek prompt compliance if the courts reverse the current decisions unless an employee has been granted a medical or religious exemption. 

Trinity emphasized they “highly encourage” employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and will keep employees informed as to future developments regarding the CMS mandate. 

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