12 medical groups urge court to preserve vaccination requirements for healthcare workers

Democracy Forward, a nonprofit legal organization, filed an amicus brief Dec. 7 urging a federal court to preserve CMS' interim final vaccination rule for healthcare workers.

The brief, filed on behalf of 12 medical groups, calls on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit to grant the Justice Department's emergency motion for stay pending appeal of the injunction against the rule.

The brief was signed by the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, American Geriatrics Society, American Medical Women's Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Society for Echocardiography, American Society of Hematology, American Thoracic Society and American Lung Association.

In the brief, the medical groups argue that COVID-19 vaccines "are safe and effective, and the widespread use of those vaccines is the best way to keep COVID-19 from spreading within healthcare facilities."

Therefore, maintaining the injunction against the CMS vaccination requirements would "severely and irreparably harm patients and undermine the public interest," according to the 16-page brief.

The medical organizations also argue that healthcare facilities become safer when more staff members get vaccinated.

CMS suspended implementation and enforcement of its mandate after a federal judge in Louisiana issued preliminary injunctions Nov. 30. The injunction effectively expanded a separate order issued Nov. 29 by a federal judge in Missouri that temporarily paused the mandate in 10 states. HHS is appealing the nationwide halt.

The CMS regulation is expected to cover more than 17 million workers in hospitals and other healthcare settings that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. 

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