The Bulletin Board

Attorney general signs on to lawsuit challenging vaccine mandate for health care workers

By: - November 11, 2021 10:43 am
Gov. Sununu at a podium

Gov. Chris Sununu issued a statement supporting the attorney general’s decision to join the lawsuit.(Courtesy)

This story was updated November 12, 2021 at 11:15 a.m. to correct the spelling of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. 

Attorney General John Formella announced Wednesday that he will join a third multi-state lawsuit challenging federal vaccine mandates, this time the mandate for health care workers. 

“The available COVD-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and the state understands that many health care facilities have or will voluntarily implement a vaccine mandate for their employees,” Formella said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the new mandate issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was not adopted in conformance with the law and would force a vaccine mandate on every worker in every health care facility that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding. We are once again obligated to take action to protect the state from this illegal mandate and the burden it would place on our already strained health care workers and facilities.”

Last week, Formella joined nine other states in a challenge to the mandate on private employers with 100 or more workers. In late October, he joined 10 other states in challenging the mandate on federal workers and contractors.

As he did on those occasions, Gov. Chris Sununu issued a statement supporting Formella’s decision.

“We have heard from long-term care facilities that are at risk of shutting down if this mandate goes through,” he said. “This lawsuit can help stop another overreaching mandate in its tracks, avoiding a catastrophic workforce and care crisis for some of our State’s most vulnerable residents.”

The lawsuit accuses the federal government of overstepping its authority and imposing a mandate without required public input. Like the other challenges, this one warns a mandate will exacerbate the workforce shortage.

“The CMS vaccine mandate threatens with job loss millions of health care workers who risked their lives in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to care for strangers and friends in their communities,” it said. “The Plaintiff states seek to end this dragooning of our states’ health care heroes.”

Many of the state’s hospitals have adopted their own vaccine mandates, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Wentworth-Douglass, Catholic Medical Center, Elliot Health Systems, Southern New Hampshire Health, St. Joseph Hospital, Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Weeks Medical Center, and Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.