A federal judge in Missouri has partially halted another one of the Biden administration’s key vaccine requirements, blocking the imposition of a rule for certain health-care workers in 10 states.
The Biden administration issued the vaccine mandate, for health-care workers at facilities that received funding from Medicare and Medicaid, in early November through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It was estimated to apply to some 1.7 million workers at 76,000 facilities across the country.
But in a 32-page ruling, the judge, Trump appointee Matthew T. Schelp, said that a preliminary injunction to halt the rule was warranted because he believed the arguments made by the plaintiffs, 10 mostly Republican-dominated states, that the CMS lacked authority to implement the requirement, probably had merit.
He also questioned whether there was enough data about transmissibility and vaccination status, and said that he believed the order was probably “arbitrary and capricious.”
The ruling is another legal blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the pandemic by increasing vaccination rates through mandates and requirements. A rule from the Department of Labor, that would require private companies of 100 or more employees to institute mandatory vaccine or weekly testing programs, has also been stopped in the courts, by a panel of three judges, two of whom were appointed by former president Donald Trump.
The order will halt the CMS vaccine mandate in the 10 states that brought the lawsuit: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The CMS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.