By Alice Giordano
Efforts to overturn vaccine mandates for both hospital patients and health care workers appear to be gaining momentum across the United States.
In what is seen as a major victory for transplant patients who did not take the COVID vaccine, one of the largest transplant centers in the United States reversed its policy to require the jab in order to be eligible for an organ transplant.
The University of Michigan (UM) announced its new policy on May 4 just before court proceedings were about to get underway in a lawsuit filed against it for declaring patients ineligible for an organ transplant unless they agreed to the jab.
The suit was filed on behalf of several patients by David Peters of Pacific Justice Institute who in celebrating the reversal simply stated “we’re winning!”
In a written statement, UM said it was “new information” that led to the “voluntary decision” to reverse its policy.
“The University hereby gives notice to the Court that in light of developing epidemiological and other actuarial circumstances, effective April 27, 2023, it has changed its Transplant Center COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Adult Transplant Candidates. Relevant to this litigation, COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required prior to wait-listing of potential adult solid organ transplant recipients.”
The UM decision fell on the same day a federal judge chastised Maine Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Patwardhan for filing a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of health care workers who lost their job for refusing to get their COVID vaccine.
“You obviously have not been reading the U.S. Supreme Court precedent on this or else you would not have filed your motion to dismiss,” Judge Sandra Lynch said to Patwardhan.
Lynch made the comments during oral arguments in the case before a three-judge panel of First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The case is being argued by Matt Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel, on behalf of the health care workers.
In addition to the ban, Maine Governor Mills also threatened to revoke the licenses of all health care employers who fail to mandate the COVID shot for all workers.
The rural New England state is one of six that banned religious exemptions from vaccine mandates.
The others are New York, California, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Mississippi.
Last month in Mississippi, in what many parents opposed to vaccines are hoping will become a national precedent, a federal court judge ruled that outlawing religious exemptions from vaccines including school-required immunization was unconstitutional and ordered the provision restored.
Such rulings follow a Supreme Court decision that found it is discriminatory for states to consider other kinds of exemptions from the vaccine while denying religious ones.
Peters, however, believes the SCOTUS ruling is only part of the reason why hospitals are starting to voluntarily reverse COVID vaccine mandates.
Peters, who holds a doctorate in medical sociology and a masters in medicine, said the hospitals are starting to own up to the reality that the vaccines are “if not hurtful, useless.”
He has several other pending litigations against transplant centers that have denied patients a spot on a list, including some in need of life-saving heart transplants because they weren’t vaccinated against COVID.
Peters said he is planning to file “tons” more across the country.
Liberty Counsel has also partnered with lawyers in states including Florida to bring similar lawsuits on behalf of patients and health care workers.
Florida attorney Jenna Vasquez represents nursing students in pending litigation against their colleges for refusing to let them complete their clinicals unless they get the COVID shot. “And yet we are being told we are in a nursing crisis,” Vasquez, who is representing the students on behalf of Liberty Counsel, told The Epoch Times.
In Maine, another group called Health Choice Maine has filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of EMTs who were fired for not taking the vaccine.
The Mills Administration continues to enforce the mandate for EMT workers despite a critical shortage of technicians and drivers in Maine, which has the largest elderly population in the United States.
One of America’s largest hospitals has also been hauled into court over its denial of religious exemptions from the COVID vaccine.
Oral arguments are scheduled for May 10 in a case against Mass General Brigham (MGB) in Boston, Massachusetts.
In the lawsuit, 159 workers question why the hospital granted 230 employees religious exemptions, but denied their requests. MGB cited “hardship” as the reason, but did not explain what it meant, the complaint shows.
The hospital has filed a summary judgment asking the court to dismiss the case.
Massachusetts attorney Ryan McLane of McLane & McLane, a law firm affiliated with Liberty Counsel, is representing the 159 health care workers in the case.