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Vaccine mandate blocked for federal contractors in 3 states

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 2:07 PM EST
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(Gray News) - A federal judge blocked the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for federal contractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee on Tuesday.

This is the third time in the past few weeks that the president’s call for mandatory vaccines were halted.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove of the Eastern District of Kentucky said in his 29-page opinion that the vaccine mandate went above President Joe Biden’s authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act.

The judge added that this case was not about the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The White House defended the contractor requirement Tuesday and pointed to the success of the government’s vaccine rules for federal employees, CNN reported.

“We are confident in the government’s authority to promote economy and efficiency in federal contracting through its vaccine requirement, and the Department of Justice will vigorously defend it in court,” the White House said.

Also on Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a mandate issued by Biden, set to take effect next week, that would have required all U.S. health care workers to be vaccinated against the virus.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a motion for preliminary injunction in the case, which was filed by attorneys general in 14 states.

The judge’s order temporarily blocks the mandate nationwide, expanding on an order issued Monday in Missouri that only affected 10 states.

Under the mandate, health care workers in hospitals and nursing homes would need to receive their first vaccine by Dec. 6 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or run the risk of losing their jobs.

The Monday order was appealed by the Department of Justice, CNN reported.

Earlier this month, a requirement that large companies require either vaccines or tests for employees was held by a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals order.

The challenges to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandate have been consolidated and transferred to the 6th Circuit.

Because of the order, OSHA is temporarily unable to enforce the requirement.

The setbacks come amid concerns about the spread of omicron variant, which threatens a resumption to more normal life across the globe.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. CNN Newsource contributed to this report.