WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday to temporarily block President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate. The mandate requires certain health workers across the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The injunction was issued by Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. It effectively expanded a separate yet similar ruling made on Monday by a federal court in Missouri that applied to 10 states.
"There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million health care workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency," Doughty wrote in the injunction order. "It is not clear that even an act of Congress mandating a vaccine would be constitutional."
The judge said the plaintiffs have a "quasi-sovereign interest in protecting its citizens from being required to submit to vaccinations," adding that their concerns over possible loss of jobs, businesses and tax revenue as a result of the mandate were legitimate.
According to the mandate, which was issued through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and took effect on Nov. 5, health workers nationwide who worked in hospitals and nursing homes receiving funding from Medicare and Medicaid must receive at least their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.
Meanwhile, another federal mandate, which requires private employees with 100 or more workers to get their workforce vaccinated, was also blocked by employers in more than a dozen states.
A federal court has also temporarily stalled the mandate, as those opposing the mandate are making the case that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a regulatory agency under the Labor Department that developed rules governing the inoculations, overstepped its authority.
The rulings in all of the cases are unlikely to be final, and appeals are expected as the litigation continues.
Biden redoubled his push these days for unvaccinated Americans to get fully vaccinated, and for those who have been double-jabbed to receive the booster shot, as his administration braced for the potential arrival of the newly emerged Omicron variant of COVID-19.