Federal judge rejects motion to block Oregon vaccinations

On Monday, a federal judge rejected a last-minute proposal from more than three dozen government officials, medical workers and school personnel to suspend the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon dismissed their motion for an interim restraining order, noting the first decision by a federal judge after several state court decisions obstructing similar efforts to block the authority of Oregon Governor Keith Brown and the Oregon Health Department to demand vaccines from certain workers or risk losing work, reports The Oregonian / OregonLive.

Since September, at least 10 vaccine complaints have been filed with state and federal courts. Complaints come from healthcare professionals, including registered nurses, residents and doctors.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, with infections and hospitalizations continuing at high rates, it is unlikely that plaintiffs will be able to prove that their individual interests in not vaccinating outweigh the interests of the state in public health and well-being,” the judge wrote in his letter. page opinion.

Civil servants had two months to prepare for the governor’s deadline for full vaccinations, which came Monday for an estimated 5,000 employees. Initially, it extended to about 43,000 executive officers, but now the deadline for most is November 30, after negotiations with government employees’ unions.

The judge ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that they would be irreparably harmed by the vaccine mandate. While he said some government employees could face layoffs because they did not get vaccinated, he added that “it’s still just money,” and they could get their jobs back or earn money again if they win their case in later moment.

The 42 plaintiffs include nurses, doctors, teachers and school athletic coaches, including a LifeFlight paramedic, hospice nurse, dental hygienist and pharmacist.

Lawyer Stephen J. Yonkus, representing the plaintiffs, argued that they had a constitutional right “not to be compelled to take experimental drugs,” citing the 14th Amendment and the Nuremberg Code, which is a set of ethical principles for conducting experiments on humans.

The plaintiffs’ arguments that the vaccines are dangerous or experimental are not supported by the country’s top medical and health authorities, state lawyers said.

Simon noted that the vaccination mandate offers government officials the choice of either getting the vaccine, applying for a religious or medical exemption, or finding work elsewhere, including out of state.

“The plaintiffs have not proven that the international community collectively condemns this type of choice as a form of coercion that is prohibited by the Nuremberg Code, especially during a global pandemic and when the vaccine is approved by the FDA,” Simon wrote.

The trial is not terminated by the judge’s decision. This allows the government to enforce vaccine requirements as a case is pending.

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