Newly formed coalition sues Maine over COVID vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

A coalition formed to oppose Maine’s vaccine requirement for healthcare workers has filed a lawsuit against senior state health officials to stop the policy before it goes into effect on next month.

The lawsuit of the Alliance Against Health Care Mandates, which announced its formation in late August, is the second court challenge to the warrant to be filed in as many weeks.

The group filed the trial Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta, arguing that the rule violated federal and state laws as well as the US Constitution. The lawsuit names Maine Department of Health and Human Services commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah as accused.

Under a plan announced by Governor Janet Mills in August, health workers have until October 1 to get vaccinated, although Mills said on Thursday that state officials would not start enforcing the rule. until October 29.

The lawsuit is the latest backlash against the policy, which supporters say will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in hospitals and long-term care facilities and Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has argued it was no different from today’s vaccine requirements for healthcare workers.

Last month, the national Christian organization Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against Mills and some of the state’s largest health organizations over the warrant in federal court.

The alliance argues that the mandate exceeds the regulatory authority of the DHHS under the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and violates the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment which it claims is in the Maine Constitution and the Fourteenth amendment of the US Constitution, according to the record.

The group’s dossier also qualifies all available COVID-19 vaccines as “highly experimental” and says that anyone receiving the vaccines in the United States is a “test subject” who would be forced between keeping their job or risking “injury or injury. death ”from the vaccine. Over 200 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with a minimum number of people report adverse health effects.

While lawsuits against vaccine requirements have proliferated in recent months, courts have often spoken out against plaintiffs seeking to end such policies. Last month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused to block an Indiana University plan to require students and employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Maine healthcare employees can opt out of the vaccine requirement with a medical exemption, but there is no religious exemption from the requirement.

Emily Nixon, a nurse and spokesperson for the Coalition of Healthcare Workers Against Medical Warrants, one of the organizations participating in the lawsuit, said on Tuesday her organization had 2,500 healthcare workers across the state among its members. Of those, she said, 1,800 are ready to be sacked if the rule goes into effect.

A spokesman for Maine attorney general Aaron Frey did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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