A lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and nine other states against the Biden administration received a ruling Monday halting vaccine mandates for health care workers in those states.

The United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, issued a preliminary injunction halting the Biden administration from mandating that health care workers receive COVID-19 vaccines.

The mandate was established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. It requires nearly every employee, volunteer and third-party contractor working at 15 categories of health care facilities to have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose prior to Dec. 6.

Schmitt addressed the ruling at a press conference Monday. He said it does not affect the federal government’s decision on whether or not to mandate vaccines.

“(The federal government) can make these health care decisions themselves. This is about individual freedom. This is about individual rights, and we’ve succeeded in persuading the court that this mandate violated all of those tenants,” Schmitt said.

The court came up with several reasons for its decision to halt the mandate.

Among them, it ruled that Congress did not grant CMS authority to mandate the vaccine; therefore, it has no power to do so. It also ruled that CMS improperly bypassed notice and comment requirements and that the mandate is “arbitrary and capricious.”

The court determined that the 10 states that filed the lawsuit were able to prove the mandate would cause “irreparable harm,” more harm would be done by not granting the injunction, and the public has an interest in an injunction.

At the press conference, Schmitt said the ruling is significant to many people around the country.

“Make no mistake of it: Our office may have led the charge on this, but it’s the health care workers in Missouri and across the country, it’s the rural hospitals here and elsewhere that are facing certain collapses due to this mandate, and it’s the patients of those hospitals who are the real victors and the real winners here today,” Schmitt said.

According to a news release, Schmitt’s office has also filed lawsuits to halt Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine mandate on private employers and the vaccine mandate on federal contractors, both of which are awaiting court rulings.

  • Community and Special Sections Reporter, fall 2021 Studying Digital and Print Media and minoring in Spanish and Black Studies Get in touch with me at kshannon@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5700

  • Assistant city editor, spring 2021. Studying print and digital news journalism. Reach me at skylarlaird@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

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