Updated CDC guidance undercuts COVID-19 vaccine mandate: lawsuit

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An amended lawsuit filed Aug. 19 asks a court to rule against Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, citing in part updated COVID-19 guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) there.

dr Stephen Skoly is questioning Rhode Island’s vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, claiming it unconstitutionally discriminates against people with protection from a prior infection.

The mandate imposed by state officials allowed medical exceptions, but not on the basis of previous infection or natural immunity. According to the 34-page complaint filed in federal court in Rhode Island, this violates the US Constitution’s equal protections clause.

The mandate “irrationally discriminates between different types of unvaccinated healthcare workers — the preferred unvaccinated (those with accepted medical exemptions) allowed to wear N95 masks and work, and the non-preferred (those with an unaccepted medical condition or natural immunity or a religious belief) are forced to suffer the loss of their livelihood despite being willing to be N95 masked,” it said.

Skoly has been suffering from Bell’s Palsy, a condition that has been linked to COVID-19 vaccines. He has also recovered from COVID-19, giving him a high level of protection. After consulting his doctor, Skoly decided not to get vaccinated.

Skoly’s lawyers listed two studies showing that natural immunity is superior to vaccination. They also noted how on Aug. 11 the CDC changed its guidance, which officials across the country use when introducing regulations.

The guidance states that the risk of severe COVID-19 “is significantly reduced by immunity resulting from vaccination, previous infection, or both” and that people “who have had COVID-19 but are unvaccinated have some protection against a serious illness”. their previous infection.” It also lifts a stricter quarantine for unvaccinated people.

“Even the CDC has finally admitted that there is no point in distinguishing between vaccine immunity and natural immunity,” the lawsuit reads.

She is asking the court to pay damages and permanently suspend state officials’ enforcement of the mandate against him, as well as unemployment benefits and an injunction against future refusals to claim unemployment benefits.

No customization

Mark Chenoweth, president and general counsel at the New Civil Liberties Alliance, told the Epoch Times after the CDC update that the rights group would note the update in future filings, including in Skoly’s case.

If companies don’t respond to the update, more lawsuits will be filed, he said.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have finally come to acknowledge the scientific fact that recovery from COVID-19 has implications [sic] People with naturally acquired immunity to the virus. Rhode Island leaders appear to be slow learners. By Dr. Skoly continues to be treated as posing a threat to vulnerable patients despite having antibodies to the COVID-19 virus, the state’s irrational order cannot withstand judicial scrutiny,” Chenoweth said in a statement.

Outside of New Jersey, no states appear to have updated guidelines based on the CDC update.

A spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Health, one of the defendants in Skoly’s lawsuit, did not respond when asked if the state would do so.

Rhode Island originally imposed the mandate on October 1, 2021. Officials extended the temporary mandate in February and later replaced it with a mandate allowing masking in lieu of vaccination, a provision carried over to the permanent mandate, which came into effect in mid-June came into force.

In a motion to dismiss this month, the defendants noted the change and said it supports the dismissal of the lawsuit. They also said the mandates were based on “specific CDC guidance and the scientific evidence available at the time.”

However, the standing mandate adds a new section that requires all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and workers to get vaccinated, the amended complaint said. This rule means the masking alternative is unavailable for facilities accepting federal funding and reintroduces “arbitrary discrimination,” which violates the Constitution.

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Zachary Stieber covers US and world news. He lives in Maryland.

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