By Guy Page
The University of Vermont Medical Center and its affiliates have halted plans to require vaccination for all employees, a spokesman announced today. The state’s largest private employer will revert to the previous policy of allowing employees to test weekly instead.
“As long as the courts pause the federal vaccination mandate, The University of Vermont Health Network’s Vermont affiliates will continue to operate under the vaccination policy we originally announced in August, which mandates vaccination or weekly testing,” Spokesperson Neal Goswami emailed Vermont Daily Chronicle this morning.
“However, if at any point the courts allow the government to enforce its mandatory vaccination policy, we will comply with it,” Goswami said. “We continue to encourage employees to become vaccinated. As an academic health system, we know that the data and science prove that vaccines work to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus and prevents severe illness, hospitalization and death. Vaccination is the strongest tool we have toward ending this pandemic.”
Rutland Regional Medical Center announced a similar decision last week. The change was made due to a federal court preliminary injunction stopping, in all 50 states, the Biden administration requiring that all U.S. healthcare organizations receiving Medicare funding have 100% of employees vaccinated by Jan. 4. The injunction was imposed by U.S. Western District of Louisiana Judge Terry Doughty, an appointee of the Trump administration.
* * * * *
A statement by Liberty Counsel, a national legal organization upholding civil and religious rights, provides detail on the preliminary injunction.
In Louisiana, a federal judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction yesterday against Biden’s shot mandate for more than 17 million health care workers, including full-time and part-time employees, volunteers and contractors working at health care facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding.
“If the executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the legislative branch to make laws, two of the three powers conferred by our Constitution would be in the same hands. If human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency…During a pandemic such as this one, it is even more important to safeguard the separation of powers set forth in our Constitution to avoid erosion of our liberties.”
– U.S. Judge Terry Doughty
Judge Terry A. Doughty in the U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana blocked the emergency regulation issued November 4 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would have required staff at providers that participate in the programs to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 injection by December 6 and be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.
Louisiana was joined in the lawsuit by attorneys general in 13 other states which include Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.
Judge Doughty pointed out in his ruling that the Biden administration does not have the constitutional authority to go around Congress by issuing such a mandate. He wrote, “If the executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the legislative branch to make laws, two of the three powers conferred by our Constitution would be in the same hands. If human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency…During a pandemic such as this one, it is even more important to safeguard the separation of powers set forth in our Constitution to avoid erosion of our liberties.”
The court also wrote, “The scope of this injunction will be nationwide, except for the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, since these ten states are already under a preliminary injunction order dated November 29, 2021, out of the Eastern District of Missouri. This preliminary injunction shall remain in effect pending the final resolution of this case, or until further orders from this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, or the United States Supreme Court.”
Judge Doughty’s ruling followed a similar one on Monday from Missouri U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp on behalf of thousands of health care workers in 10 states. Judge Schelp granted a preliminary injunction that applies to certified providers of Medicare and Medicaid suppliers in each of the suing states: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The court indicated that Congress had not clearly authorized the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid to institute the mandate for Medicare and Medicaid providers.
“Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate,” Judge Schelp wrote.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “It is promising that these federal judges are acknowledging that Biden has no authority to issue unlawful shot mandates to any person in America. It’s a matter of time before more courts rule against this administration’s agenda to force people to choose between their livelihood and religious beliefs and injecting an experimental drug into their bodies.”