The Supreme Court rejected an urgent health care appeal workers in Maine to block the mandate of the COVID-19 vaccine, which took effect on Friday.
Three conservative judges noted their disagreement. The state does not offer a religious exemption for workers in hospitals and nursing homes who are at risk of losing their jobs if they not vaccinated.
Only New York and Rhode Island also have vaccination mandates for health professionals who have no religious exceptions. Both are the subject of litigation, and a court in New York City has allowed New York City workers to seek religious exceptions while the lawsuit is pending.
The High Court had previously rejected Indiana University students and teachers in New York City who opposed the vaccination. Both the university and the city allow people to seek religious exceptions.
The request for Maine was made by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. A federal judge in Maine rejected the termination of his term and ruled that the lawsuit was unlikely to succeed. The October 13 decision sparked a bunch of appeals that landed in the Supreme Court for the second time.
The Liberty Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, claimed to represent more than 2,000 health workers who do not want to be forced into vaccinations.
Dozens of health workers have decided to resign, and a hospital in Maine’s second-largest city has already restricted some admissions due to an “acute shortage” of nurses.
But most health professionals have met the requirements, and Maine residents generally support the vaccine. Maine Assn. and other health groups support the request.
Last week, Maine became the fourth country to reach the milestone of 70% of all people vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These are the vaccines we all hoped for and prayed for a year ago,” Mills said. “We have them now and we should take full advantage of them.”