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Maine EMS vaccine mandate case appears before state Supreme Court

The authority of Maine EMS to require COVID-19 and flu vaccinations is challenged in the high court

By Bill Carey

AUGUSTA, Maine — A case disputing the mandate requiring COVID and influenza vaccines for EMS workers in Maine was heard by the state’s Supreme Court on Feb. 6.

Plaintiff Chris Calnan questioned the authority Maine Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) has to require the vaccines, WABI reported.

In the original court document, Clanan and others stated that EMS workers were excluded from the Department of Health and Human Services mandate of vaccinations, but that MEMS on its own accord required vaccination for COVID-19 and the flu.

Clanan’s attorney said the court failed to determine if MEMS made any procedural wrongdoings when implementing the vaccination mandate and said the mandate goes against the purposes of the Emergency Medical Services Act.

“The purposes, goals and requirements of the act are to provide emergency medical services. There is nothing in the act, under any purposes, requirements, or goals, stating that the agency is to control diseases, promulgate immunization rules or issue vaccine mandates,” Attorney Terry Mitrenga said. “In fact, the Legislature specifically delegated that authority to a separate agency under a separate act.”

Council representing MEMS Director Sam Hurley said the vaccination mandate is about patient safety.

“We have some of the most vulnerable people in the healthcare system. We have people having heart attacks, strokes, a cancer patient coming in,” Assistant Attorney General Sarah Coleman explained. “The last thing they need while in EMS care is to be exposed to a potentially deadly disease.”

The justices are expected to provide a written decision at a later date.