SACRAMENTO. On Wednesday, a judge blocked an order that went into effect this week to vaccinate employees of a California prison against COVID-19.
Kern County Judge Bernard Barmann has issued a temporary restraining order that interferes with a mandate to vaccinate security guards and peacekeepers represented by a powerful union while the court hears a motion for a preliminary injunction, Sacramento Bee reported.
The public health mandate, which takes effect Friday, will continue to apply to other staff who work in prisons that have medical facilities.
It aims to prevent another coronavirus outbreak, similar to the one that killed 28 inmates and a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison last year.
In total, since the beginning of the pandemic, the virus has killed 240 prisoners and 39 prison staff.
However, the California Correctional Officers Association opposes the nomination of its members for mandates. The group has a great influence on the political structure of the state controlled by the Democratic Party. This contributed $ 1.75 million to Governor Gavin Newsom’s successful battle with recalls.
Newsom has a reputation as one of the strongest proponents of the vaccine among state governors. His administration ordered all government officials, including those in prisons, to be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19.
However, Newsom objected when a federal judge ruled last month that all employees who go to California prisons be vaccinated or exempted for religious or medical reasons. A ruling by U.S. District Judge John Tigar has lifted the ability for prison staff to avoid vaccinations and instead be frequently tested for COVID-19.
Newsom filed notice on Tuesday that the state plans to appeal the decision, leaving him in limbo.