California · COVID-19

Appeals court temporarily halts Calif. prison vaccine mandate

A federal appeals court on Friday issued a temporary stay of a coronavirus vaccine mandate for prison workers. 

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay, postponing the Jan. 12 deadline to get thousands of prison workers vaccinated until at least March. 

The move by the appeals court came after a request for a stay of a September ruling by a lower court pending an appeal. The appeals court also moved up opening briefs to Dec. 13. 

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statistics show that at least 240 prisoners have died from COVID-19 and more than half the state prison population has been infected.

The move from the appeals court blocked an earlier decision from U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar that required prison employees to get the vaccine. Tigar’s decision would also require prisoners to get either the vaccine or a medical or religious exemption in order to do work outside the prison or get in-prison visits from family.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.