Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Biden Administration’s COVID Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers


The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington on Oct. 3, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Epoch Times

By Zachary Stieber

The Supreme Court on Oct. 3 rejected a challenge from 10 states to the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.

Justices turned down a petition to hear the case, which says the mandate imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2021 is illegal.

Justices didn’t offer an explanation for their decision.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office, which led the case, didn’t respond to a request for comment. HHS and CMS also didn’t respond to inquiries.

Missouri and other states in May asked the court to review the case, several months after the nation’s top court reversed a lower court’s block on the mandate.

In a 5–4 ruling, a majority of justices said that the mandate “falls within the authorities” that Congress gave federal health officials.

They also erroneously stated that health care workers getting COVID-19 vaccines would “substantially reduce the likelihood that health care workers will contract the virus and transmit it to their patients.” Health officials have acknowledged that the vaccines perform poorly against infection and don’t lower transmission.

In a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas said that CMS wasn’t granted the “broad authority” to force health care workers to get a vaccine.

The ruling was against a preliminary injunction, leaving open the possibility that the court might ultimately rule for the states.

In their petition, for a hearing, the states said there is no evidence that unvaccinated workers pose a greater risk to patients and said the mandate has exacerbated staffing shortages. They also reiterated the belief that the law doesn’t let CMS impose the mandate, which covers every institution that receives money from Medicare or Medicaid.

Government lawyers said in reply that the law lets the health secretary implement measures “to ensure that the healthcare providers who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients protect their patients’ health and safety” and that the mandate does so because the unvaccinated purportedly pose a “serious threat” to patients. They appeared to only cite data from 2021, when the Delta virus variant was still dominant.

In a reply on Sept. 8, the states said the mandate provides “no discernible benefit to patients and relied on “stale evidence,” noting that the Omicron variant “has made very clear the vaccines’ limited effectiveness in preventing infection and transmission of the virus.”

They cited Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief White House medical adviser, who said over the summer that the vaccines “don’t protect overly well … against infection.”