Healthcare Worker Vax Mandate Blocked

… in the ten states that filed lawsuits challenging the mandate for healthcare workers to be vaccinated.

A federal judge has blocked the healthcare worker vaccine mandate in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. In his ruling, the judge said the plaintiffs said that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed because Congress had not granted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services the authority to issue a vaccine mandate. This comes days after another federal court blocked the private employer vaccine mandate.

As part of the Biden administration’s sweeping vaccine mandate effecting two-thirds of the American workforce, healthcare workers employed at institutions accepting funding from Medicare or Medicaid were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by early 2022.

Many healthcare workers have opposed state-level COVID vaccine mandates. The politicization of the vaccination issue is likely one among many reasons that one in five healthcare workers have quit their jobs during the pandemic. In fact, the states that sued the federal government over the healthcare worker mandate said that by forcing health care workers to find other work if they did not want to get vaccinated, the mandate could “exacerbate an alarming shortage of health care workers, particularly in rural communities, that has already reached a boiling point.”

The healthcare industry is hemorrhaging jobs. In the month of September, hospitals lost 8,000 jobs across the country. Nursing homes lost 37,600 jobs. Since the pandemic began, healthcare employment has dropped by 524,000, creating a “national crisis” of healthcare labor shortages. A CDC study found that 30 percent of healthcare workers are currently unvaccinated, meaning these workers will lose their jobs come January 2022, which will leave hospitals even more understaffed.

As fears of the Omicron variant begin to mount, it seems prudent to encourage and incentivize employment in the healthcare sector rather than slapping them with vaccine mandates that restrict health autonomy.