NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A federal appeals court in Denver has reversed a judge’s decision to strike down the Obama administration’s landmark requirement that certain employers provide their workers with vaccines and essentially extend the scope of its original mandate.
The judges upheld the mandate on Tuesday, despite claims by the Department of Justice and a number of state attorneys general that the Supreme Court struck down a similar requirement in a 2008 case.
That 2008 Supreme Court decision was 6-3 and in favor of a Colorado mom who didn’t want her children to get the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella as they got older. The supreme court ruled that the state of Colorado may not tell parents which vaccines to vaccinate their children because it would impose an “undue burden” on parental choice, and the Colorado court upheld the state’s authority to do so.
However, the Colorado court’s ruling struck down the federal requirement without referring to the Supreme Court’s 2008 case.
“The court heard some arguments from the parties and has reached the same result as the Colorado Supreme Court before it in favor of requiring the Departments to have authority to take employees’ vaccination records as well as their immunization records so as to comply with their statutory mandates,” Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote in her decision.
It was not immediately clear what will happen next in the case. The Center for Medical Progress, a group that says it’s “dedicated to restoring medical freedom to parents” was quick to praise the ruling.
“Science has vindicated us that vaccines have been 100% effective, 100% safe, and that the risks of vaccine injury are minuscule compared to the benefits,” it said in a statement. “It’s been more than 15 years since the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts remanded the Colorado case for reconsideration. We hope that today’s decision will open the door to require unvaccinated individuals to send personal and health information to companies to prove that they can prove compliance with state vaccination laws.”
In 2015, President Obama ordered his HHS Secretary to extend the ban on non-medical exemptions for certain vaccines to all employers with more than 50 employees.
Obama argued that such a directive was “critical to protecting our nation’s children from vaccine-preventable diseases.”
There were 261 states that have the federal mandate when the CDC said in December 2015 that 18 states had enacted laws that aligned the federal mandate for employers.
Among the states that adopted the mandate were Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Hawaii, and New York.