Washington, Nov 12 | A political battle over Covid-19 vaccination and mask mandates has continued in the US, as the federal government pushed through its inoculation campaign with young children being targeted in the latest efforts.
A coalition of 10 states, led by Missouri, has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate imposed on health care workers, which they said was “unconstitutional and unlawful”, Xinhua news agency quoted local media reports as saying.
Missouri was joined in the suit by eight other states with Republican Governors: Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.
Kansas, the 10th state, has a Democratic Governor, but is a reliably Republican state in presidential elections.
“Unfortunately, with this latest mandate from the Biden Administration, last year’s healthcare heroes are turning into this year’s unemployed,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in an official statement.
He added that requiring healthcare workers to get a vaccination or face termination is “unconstitutional and unlawful, and could exacerbate healthcare staffing shortages to the point of collapse, especially in Missouri’s rural areas”.
Meanwhile, school mask mandates have been a contentious issue for months, with the disputes moving from school board meetings to courtrooms.
A handful of Republican-led states, including Arizona and Florida, passed similar bans on mandates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that schools require their students, teachers and staff to wear masks.
In its latest update on Thursday, the CDC said that 224,660,453 people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, making up for 67.7 per cent of the whole US population.
Meanwhile, fully vaccinated people stood at 194,382,921, accounting for 58.5 per cent of the total.
A total of 26,087,147 people, or 13.4 per cent of the fully vaccinated group, have received booster shots.
As of Friday morning, the overall Covid caseload and death toll in the US stood at 46,847,655 and 759,636.