A federal judge is expected to rule by the end of the week on whether to stop St. Elizabeth Healthcare from requiring that its employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Bunning heard arguments from attorneys for both sides. Bunning said he hoped to issue a ruling by the end of the week.
The hospital group’s more than 10,000 employees are required to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 or obtain a medical or religious exemption.
As part of a lawsuit filed early this month on behalf of dozens of the hospital group’s employees, the plaintiffs asked Bunning to issue a temporary injunction regarding the vaccine requirement.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have alleged that the hospital group implemented a “corrupt” process for vaccine exemption requests and denied them “carte blanche.”
At Wednesday's hearing, attorneys for St. Elizabeth Healthcare said more than 450 exemptions for religious or medical reasons have been approved, with hundreds more either deferred or still pending. Just over 70 have been denied.
St. Elizabeth's attorneys have said in court documents that several federal courts have rejected similar challenges to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.