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NEW ORLEANS (AP) NEW ORLEANS (AP)- Federal judges in Louisiana and Texas continue to work on removing Biden administration COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
The latest of the fragmented blows to the mandates for vaccination was on Thursday in a lawsuit filed by Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi. U.S. District Judge Dee Drell, Alexandria, Louisiana, refused to block a mandate that federal contractors’ employees are vaccinated. He also noted that there was already an indefinite nationwide block on this mandate by a Georgia-based federal judge.
Drell did however issue a preliminary injunction which blocked the mandate in federal grants agreements or contracts between the three states as well as any federal government. He said Louisiana, Mississippi and Indiana have nearly $100 million in contracts with the federal government.
He also mentioned testimony from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that it could lose the National Institutes of Health grant to its employees if it did not enforce the mandate and that an employee of university was concerned about losing her job if the vaccine was not approved for religious reasons.
“This ensures Louisiana will remain protected if the nationwide injunction gets overturned,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said on Twitter following Drell’s decision.
A Texas federal judge issued a preliminary injunction which blocks the requirement for Texas health workers. The ruling, which was issued on Wednesday the health worker mandate is now blocked in half of the states. The federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has not said whether it will enforce the mandate in the other states.
There had been a nationwide court order banning the health care worker mandate in accordance with the Louisiana federal judge’s ruling. However, a federal appeals court in New Orleans this week limited the scope of the ruling to the 14 states that filed lawsuits in the Louisiana court. A separate ruling in Missouri stopped the mandate in 10 other states. Texas is the 25th state in which the mandate to provide health care has been blocked.
Associated Press reporter David Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri, contributed to this report.
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