COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) – A federal judge in Kentucky who upheld St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate has rejected a request to reconsider his decision, the Kentucky Enquirer reported.
The order was filed in Covington’s district court on Thursday, one day before the deadline that employees had to get vaccinated. U.S. District Judge David Bunning stated that employees who fought the mandate were not entitled to injunctive relief .
The suit was filed in early September by 40 employees at St. Elizabeth’s, which has a staff of around 11,200 associates and physicians, according to its website. Following announcements by many of Kentucky’s largest hospital systems, including St. Elizabeth’s that all employees would need to be vaccinated, the lawsuit was filed.
Bunning referred to a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a Massachusetts law mandating residents to get vaccinated against smallpox.
Bunning also addressed an accusation that referring to COVID-19 as an “unprecedented global pandemic” was political.
“Whether called an unprecedented global pandemic or a less ominous description, the COVID-19 situation has been, by any objective measure, something that everyone, including the hospital and its employees, has been dealing with for more than 18 months,” Bunning said. It is not political to call it unprecedented. It is simply a recognition of its extraordinary nature
Public health officials repeatedly have declared the vaccines as safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19.
Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, has described the COVID-19 vaccines as a “miracle of modern science.”
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