COLUMBUS, Ohio — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is from a previous story.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has signed onto yet another lawsuit against the Biden administration, this time seeking to overturn the president's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care employees.
The directive, first announced by President Joe Biden earlier this month, requires all workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The move would affect some 17 million employees across the country, but just over a week ago Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and A.G. Chris Carr filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana that seeks to overturn the order.
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The Republican Yost announced Tuesday he has joined that lawsuit, calling Biden's mandate "an unlawful use of executive power." In a statement, the attorney general also claimed forcing health care workers to get the vaccine would cause many to walk off the job and lead to staffing shortages at hospitals and other facilities.
"We have seen the challenges nursing homes and other facilities have had in retaining and recruiting staff," Yost said. "This mandate, and the walkouts that will likely follow, will only make those challenges worse – leaving vulnerable Ohioans without adequate care."
This is not the first time Yost has spoken out against Biden's COVID mitigation policies. Last month, he filed two lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit challenging one vaccine mandate against federal contractors and another for Americans who work at companies with at least 100 employees. The latter was later halted by the separate Fifth Circuit, but the U.S. Department of Justice is appealing the ruling and the case could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
"The president does not have the authority to make health-care decisions for Americans," Yost wrote.
The FDA has fully approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for all adults, while shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson as well as doses for younger kids along with separate boosters have received emergency use authorization. The Ohio House of Representatives recently passed a bill that bans even private employers from imposing stringent COVID vaccine mandates, although the regulations in the measure are still tougher for health care facilities.
Since the start of the pandemic 20 months ago, more than 26,000 Ohioans have died from COVID-19. Just over 52% of state residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, still well below the figure experts say is needed to achieve effective herd immunity.