A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked an order requiring all California prison workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or have a religious or medical exemption.
Driving the news: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday approved a request for a stay of the order pending appeal. The vaccination mandate was set to go into effect by Jan. 12, but the stay blocks enforcement until March, AP reports.
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The big picture: U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had rejected the original stay request for the vaccine mandate, which impacts prison workers, inmates who want in-person visits or who work outside prisons.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) joined the state's prison agency in appealing the order.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the corrections officers' labor union in California, warned that the vaccine mandate could create staffing shortages, per AP.
Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office, told AP that the stay "puts both the prison staff and the incarcerated population at greater risk of infection."
Approximately 50,640 California state prisoners have had COVID-19 since the pandemic began and at least 242 have died, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
What to watch: The appeals court order sets Dec. 13 as the deadline for opening briefs.
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