Supreme Court won’t block vaccine mandate for Maine’s health care workers

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PORTLAND, Maine — The U.S. Supreme Court declined Tuesday to block a vaccine requirement imposed on Maine health care workers, the latest defeat for opponents of vaccine mandates.

It was the first time the Supreme Court weighed in on a statewide vaccine mandate. It previously rejected challenges of vaccine requirements for New York City teachers and Indiana University staff and students.

Justice Stephen Breyer rejected the emergency appeal but left the door open to try again as the clock ticks on Maine’s mandate. The state will begin enforcing it Oct. 29.

The Maine vaccine requirement that was put in place by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills requires hospital and nursing home workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

Opponents tried to block the mandate, but a federal judge rejected the request Oct. 13. The judge said the record indicated regular testing alone wasn’t sufficient to stop the spread of the delta variant.

That decision set off a flurry of emergency appeals to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then the U.S. Supreme Court.

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