Judge throws out Maine lawsuit against COVID vaccine mandateHealth

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Judge throws out Maine lawsuit against COVID vaccine mandate

By Amanda Caroline  •  August 20, 2022  •  46

Triwer – ME, PORTLAND — A federal judge has dismissed a complaint from a group of medical professionals who claimed that Maine's COVID-19 vaccination requirement unfairly discriminated against them.

The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Democratic governor of Maine, Janet Mills, as well as other state officials and many state-run healthcare providers. The employees claimed that the vaccination requirement infringed their right to the free exercise of their religion because it did not allow for a religious exemption.

The vaccine mandate was "rationally grounded," according to chief judge Jon Levy of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, who wrote in a letter on Thursday. "No additional study is required."

The government's interests in preventing the spread of COVID-19, preserving Maine's healthcare capacity, and safeguarding the lives and health of Maine residents are rationally related to reducing the number of unvaccinated healthcare workers at designated healthcare facilities in Maine, according to Levy.

Since launching the lawsuit, the workers had maintained their anonymity up until July, when a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that they must expose their identities. The workers further stated that because they believed fetal stem cells from abortions were utilized to manufacture the vaccine, it was their religious freedom to reject it.

Health care employees' legal counsel, Liberty Counsel, announced in a statement on Friday that it would challenge the dismissal. Levy's firing, according to the business, was "critically erroneous" and "contrary to recent Supreme Court precedent addressing COVID limits on places of worship and numerous other Supreme Court cases," among other things.

In October, the vaccination requirement became official. The plaintiffs intended to appeal the court's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court earlier this year turned down their request to hear their case. At the time of its judgement, the high court gave no justification.

Some of the state's biggest health care networks were named as defendants in the lawsuit. Northern Light Health, one of those networks, claimed in a statement on Friday that the court's decision had supported its position.

The statement read, "In these difficult times, our health care organization continues to strive always to behave in the best interests of our patients and our personnel, and we're pleased that the court entirely validated our conduct in this situation.