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South Carolina to sue over COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers

South Carolina's attorney general says he will sue over the requirement for health care workers to get the COVID shot.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina's attorney general says he'll file a lawsuit soon over the Biden Administration's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

Alan Wilson's office sent a statement Monday night announcing his intentions but it did not say when that paperwork would be filed. A spokesperson for the attorney general said they were waiting for other states to join the effort. 

“President Biden has once again overstepped his legal authority and overreached his power," Wilson said. "The President is not above the law. I fully support the rights of our healthcare heroes in opposition to mandatory COVID vaccines. We intend to file suit in the very near future.”

RELATED: Biden team defends worker vaccine mandate, wants court cases combined

The potential lawsuit is specifically targeting the federal rules regarding hospitals workers. Last week, OHSA, the federal workplace safety agency, released their long-awaited vaccine mandate guidelines for companies that employ over 100 people. Those rules mandate the vaccine, but allow for people to remain unvaccinated if they submit to weekly COVID testing and wear a mask. 

RELATED: Appeals court temporarily halts COVID-19 vaccine mandate on larger businesses

The rules for healthcare workers are tougher. The 17 million who work in  nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that receive money from Medicare and Medicaid do not have an option — they will need to be vaccinated.  

Over the weekend, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the enforcement of the mandate temporarily until come concerns could be heard in court. Other states had sued over the measure. 

South Carolina has already joined another lawsuit that seeks to stop a portion of the mandate that deals only with federal contract workers. And South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order barring state cabinet agencies from complying with the mandate. 

Biden said his encouragement for businesses to impose mandates and his own previous requirements for the military and federal contractors have helped reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans over 12 from 100 million in late July to about 60 million now.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday expressed confidence that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate can withstand any legal challenges.

“This is an authority that we believe the Department of Labor has,” Jean-Pierre told told reporters during a news briefing. “We are very confident about it.”

 

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