Republican attorneys general file petition to repeal vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

Twenty-two attorneys general filed a petition on November 17, 2022, requesting the Biden administration to repeal the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule on November 5, 2021, requiring healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The interim rule aimed to “protect the health and safety of residents, clients, patients, PACE participants, and staff, and reflect lessons learned to date as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency,” according to the rule.  

The attorneys general argued that the vaccine mandate violates states’ sovereignty and will lead states to “lose frontline healthcare workers, providers, suppliers, and services, and America’s most vulnerable populations will lose access to necessary medical care,” according to the petition. The petition requests the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CMS to repeal the interim final rule and related guidance.  

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R), who led the coalition of state officials, released a statement arguing, “The Biden administration relied on a purported emergency to sidestep its normal requirements and rush through its flagrantly unconstitutional mandate. But evidence available at that time, and evidence that has emerged since, demonstrates that full vaccination doesn’t prevent infection or transmission. Breakthrough infections are common, and studies increasingly show heightened health risks associated with the vaccines.”

The petition was filed by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. 

CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services had not issued a response to the petition as of November 18, 2022. 

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