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Health care worker vaccine mandate stays in place after judge declines to get involved

Last week, local lawmakers said they were asked by CMMC leaders to convince Governor Janet Mills to amend her vaccine mandate for health care workers.

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge has declined to intervene to halt a requirement that Maine health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Eight health care workers and a provider had filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Janet Mills' mandate saying it violates their constitutional rights because there is no religious exemption. The governor rejected a call Wednesday by some lawmakers and hospital administrators to delay enforcement of an Oct. 29 deadline for health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I'm very confident that the vaccine rule as implemented in the state of Maine, And soon to be implemented nationally for healthcare workers, without a testing alternative, will help keep all of our healthcare facilities safe, keep your loved ones safe," Gov. Mills said at a press conference Wednesday.

Those who filed the lawsuit also wantedJudge Jon Levy to slap an injunction on the state to stop pushing for the vaccinations until the entire case is decided.

In his ruling, Levy said Wednesday that the record indicates regular testing, proposed by the plaintiffs, is not sufficient to stop the spread of the delta variant. He concluded that the plaintiffs failed to meet the requirements for an injunction to halt the requirement to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 29 or lose their jobs. 

The mandate's effect already is being felt with dozens of health care workers opting to quit.



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