The U.S. Supreme Court building
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The U.S. Supreme Court has once again rebuffed a challenge to the state of Maine’s law requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Maine’s mandate went into effect in October, and the state has not allowed nursing home and hospital workers to ask for religious exemptions. A group of nine unnamed workers sued the state in August to demand that they be able to do so.

The court on Tuesday declined to hear arguments to that effect. It did not explain its reasoning, but had already rejected two previous emergency applications to stop the state’s vaccine mandate while it considered the religious exemption lawsuit’s merits, according to a report by the Associated Press.

“We will continue to defend the rule, which is critical for the protection of patients, healthcare workers and Maine’s healthcare system against COVID-19,” said Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey, according to the Portland Press Herald. 

Resistance against CMS vaccine rules

Although most U.S. nursing home workers have complied with federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates and it is estimated that most hospital workers have as well, there has been legal pushback. 

The U.S. Supreme Court in January lifted two injunctions blocking a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule covering more than 17 million workers, including all who may interact with patients at more than 15,000 nursing homes, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News reported. But on Friday, Feb. 18, sixteen states made a renewed effort to halt that mandate.

In Maine, most workers have received a vaccination and kept their jobs, the Portland Press Herald reported. The current religious exemption challenge will now be heard in the U.S. District Court in Portland.