Lawsuit in opposition to well being employee vaccination mandate in Maine
AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) – A new lawsuit challenges Maine’s mandate to require all healthcare workers to receive a COIVD-19 vaccine.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Bangor this week, argues that the mandate violates workers’ right to object to the vaccine based on their religious beliefs.
Under the mandate given by Governor Janet Mills, all healthcare workers should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1.
The lawsuit leads Gov. Mills, Health and Welfare Commissioner Jean Lambrew, CDC Director of Maine, Dr. Nirvav Shah, and five health care providers as plaintiffs.
A court record lists the nine anonymous plaintiffs as workers at MaineHealth, Genesis Healthcare, Northern Light Health, MaineGeneral Health and as the owner and employee of a private nursing practice.
The brief states in part: “If the plaintiffs fail to comply with the vaccination mandate, they will be fired and their ability to support their families will be deprived of them. No American should be faced with this unscrupulous choice, especially the health care heroes who have served us admirably throughout the duration of COVID-19. “
A federal judge is accelerating the case and has scheduled a status conference for next Tuesday.
In a written response to WMTW News, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said the vaccine mandate for medical workers was constitutional and based on a deamination of public health officials to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“For many years the state has required vaccination of health workers against various communicable diseases and as far as we know … The state has now just added an additional disease – COVID-19,” Frey’s statement read in part. “Federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have consistently upheld mandatory vaccination requirements.”
Outside the courtroom, groups continued to oppose the governor’s mandate.
A group of legislatures and independent groups announced that they would create the Alliance Against Health Mandates to support efforts against the Mills order.
Rep. Laurel Libby, R-Auburn, who is part of the new alliance, said she was concerned the mandate would lead to critical staffing shortages across Maine’s health care system.
“(Health care workers) have been working in this pandemic for a year and a half and know exactly how scarce the staff are,” Libby said. “When people leave or get fired, no one comes behind them to pick up the broken pieces.”
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