St. Elizabeth Healthcare, a hospital in Cincinnati city of Ohio, is now legally allowed to insist that more than 10,000 employees get the jab for COVID-19 following a federal judge’s Friday, Sept. 24 ruling.
In Covington, Kentucky, U.S. District Judge David Bunning said the hospital has a right to set up employee conditions.
“Actual liberty for all of us cannot exist where individual liberties override potential injury done to others,” Bunning said, according to Cincinnati.com.
The judge added that this mandate was looser than the Massachusetts smallpox vaccination law accepted by a U.S. Supreme Court in 1905.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare issued the mandate on Aug. 5, which is expected to take effect on Oct.1, also the deadline for filing medical or religious exemptions. The due date for the second jab is scheduled for Nov. 1.
A lawsuit against the policy had been filed this month to throw out the mandate, in which dozens of employees had expressed their concerns about the shots’ safety.
However, Judge Bunning said, “unfortunately, suspicions cannot override the law,” adding that the requirement was legal as the hospital has its rights to adjust employee conditions “in response to an unprecedented global pandemic.”
Bunning also cited the mandated flu vaccine, which has become a condition for employment term at St. Elizabeth for the past five years. Alleging that issues with COVID-19 had “unfortunately political and vitriolic, on all sides,” he made his decision.
“If an employee believes his or her individual liberties are more important than legally permissible conditions on his or her employment, that employee can and should choose to exercise another individual liberty, no less significant—the right to seek other employment,” Bunning wrote, as quoted by Reuters.
Mark Guilfoyle, an attorney representing St. Elizabeth Healthcare, praised the decision, as he argued this would be a pivotal step to promote community safety while COVID-19 is rampaging.
“This mandate is going to help reduce community spread, and it’s going to help keep people out of the hospital, which is already stressed,” Guilfoyle said, as quoted by Cincinnati.com.
As Reuters reported, the employees’ lawyer, Alan Statman, said they were weighing their next moves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) touts that although the vaccines cannot offer complete protection against COVID-19 infections, they can still ward off severe illnesses from the virus and reduce the possibility of death.
Critics of the jabs argue that research was rushed due to the stress of the pandemic, leading to a lack of thorough research into long-term effects on recipients.
The most commonly known acute side effects associated with the shots are blood clots and heart inflammation. Instances of these reactions had been reported, including deaths but remained at a low rate.