Attorney General
Ashley Moody

U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers on Saturday denied a motion by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody asking for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services emergency rule that all eligible healthcare staff receive the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6

Moody filed the lawsuit on Nov. 18, contending that the vaccine mandate is “unlawful” and will exacerbate staffing shortages in skilled nursing facilities, according to a press release issued by the attorney general’s office last week. 

The complaint names the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Lasure and CMS.

“I filed a challenge to end the CMS vaccine rule — to protect doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, as well as the stability of the entire healthcare industry, against this power-hungry administration’s unlawful mandate that forces Floridians to choose between providing for their families and their healthcare autonomy,” the attorney general said in a statement.

In the 11-page decision, Rodgers wrote, “On review of the record, the court finds no adequate showing that irreparable injury will occur in the absence of a TRO [temporary restraining order] or preliminary injunction prior to December 6, 2021.”

She added: “This argument lacks merit, and even if this could state irreparable injury, Florida references no law or established policy in danger of preemption but argues only that the Florida Legislature is contemplating legislation that would prohibit vaccine mandates. This is insufficient to justify the kind of relief Florida seeks.”Nick Van Der Linden, director of communications at LeadingAgeFlorida, told the McKnight’s Business Daily, “Nursing homes must comply with the federal CMS rule because the federal law trumps state law. Until the courts determine otherwise, our members are obligated to follow the CMS rule.”