A federal district court in Monroe on Tuesday said a federal agency had overstepped its authority and temporarily ended the requirement that millions of healthcare workers nationwide get vaccinated before Monday, Dec. 6.
“There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million healthcare 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,” wrote U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty sitting in Monroe for the Western District of Louisiana.
He expanded his order to include all states but those that have already enjoined the rule.
His 34-page opinion likely will be reviewed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court down the line.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services had argued that efforts to entice voluntary vaccinations had failed and that hospitals were quickly overwhelmed by COVID patients who had not been inoculated.
President Joe Biden initially did not think vaccines should be mandatory. He changed his mind on Sept. 9 and announced his intention to require healthcare employees who treated patients at facilities accepting Medicare and Medicaid dollars to be vaccinated against COVID-19. CMS released the rules on Nov. 5.
Doughty found that CMS didn’t follow the proper procedures, such as gathering public comment, to establish a new rule.