SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah is joining a new lawsuit against President Joe Biden over his COVID-19 vaccine mandate. This one, according to Attorney General Sean Reyes, focuses on the impact on health care workers.
Reyes and 11 other state attorneys general are asking a federal court to stop the Biden administration’s “overreaching ‘job or jab’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate.” Earlier this month, a circuit court of appeals granted an emergency stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate and declined to lift the stay last week.
The mandate requires employers with 100 or more employees to require the vaccine or frequent COVID-19 testing. Now, the 12-state coalition is filing a lawsuit and requesting a preliminary injunction on the mandate related to the healthcare sector like nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
“We are fighting to ensure Utahn’s don’t lose access to healthcare, especially in rural areas, where the workforce is already stretched thin,” says Attorney General Reyes. “The Biden Administration continues its unwise and unconstitutional attempt to solve the COVID-19 pandemic into uncharted areas of the law and trampling individual rights. Not only is this action illegal, but it would force a significant number of healthcare workers to take the vaccine or exit the Medicare and Medicaid workforce.”
WATCH: Protestors speak out about vaccine mandate outside Intermountain Medical Center
The attorneys general say the mandate on facilities that receive federal funding for treating patients exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and violates the Social Security Act’s prohibition on regulations that control the hiring and firing of health care workers. They also alleged it violates “multiple federal laws, clauses, and doctrines and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
“The Vaccine Mandate causes grave danger to vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect – the poor, sick, and elderly – by forcing the termination of millions of ‘healthcare heroes’ who are essential to providing healthcare services,” the complaint reads.
Estimates say about a quarter of the nation’s health care workers who have chosen not to get vaccinated are being targeted by this mandate. Without an injunction, the lawsuit says healthcare workers will continue to lose their jobs. In Utah, AG Reyes says over 45% of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are suffering from staff shortages.
Protestors, including health care workers, gathered outside Intermountain Medical Center over the weekend to have their voices heard regarding the vaccine mandates issued by the federal government. There were signs all over the protest with messages that noted how protestors felt: “freedom not force,” “protocols kill,” “mandate truth,” “we are not lab rats.”
“I have lost one job already, I’ll lose another,” one woman told ABC4.