Maine health care workers appeal to Supreme Court after federal court upholds state's vaccine mandate

A group of unvaccinated Maine health care workers asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to step in and block enforcement of the state’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

The mandate is set to go into force on October 29 and the workers argue that because of the vaccinesconnection to aborted fetal cell linesand for other religious reasons,” the mandate violates their sincerely held religious beliefs because it offers no religious exemptions.
Late Tuesday, a federal appeals court denied a request to block the mandate.
    A panel of judges on the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the state isparticularly vulnerableto Covid-19 because it has the largest share of residents aged 65 and older in the country.
      Maine, the appeals court wrote, “faced a severe crisis in its healthcare facilities when the delta variant hit.
        Maine does allow an exemption that applies if a doctor has certified that a vaccinemay be medically inadvisable,” but it has mandated health care workers be vaccinated against certain contagious diseases since 1989. It has not allowed religious exemptions since April 2020.
        The filing marks the health care workerssecond trip to the Supreme Court.
          Before the appeals court ruled, the workers made a similar request to the court. Justice Stephen Breyerwho has jurisdiction over the 1st Circuitdenied the request, but he made clear the workers could come back after a federal appeals court had the chance to weigh in on the case, which it did Wednesday.
            In prior cases, justices have declined attempts to block a New York City school vaccine mandate, as well as an effort to block Indiana University’s vaccine mandate.
            This story has been updated with the Supreme Court appeal.

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