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Vaccination mandate for prison workers in California suspended by judge

A judge on Wednesday blocked an order to come into effect this week requiring California prison workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kern County Judge Bernard Barmann has issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the execution of the vaccination warrant for guards and peace officers represented by a powerful union while the court considers a request for preliminary injunction, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The public health mandate that is due to come into effect on Friday will still apply to other employees who work in prisons with health facilities.


In this August 2016 photo, a row of general population inmates walk in a line at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California.
(AP Photo / Eric Risberg, file)

It aims to prevent another coronavirus outbreak like the one that killed 28 inmates and a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison last year.

In total, the virus has killed 240 inmates and 39 prison staff since the start of the pandemic.

However, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association opposes the mandates of its members. The group has a lot of influence with the political structure controlled by the state Democratic Party. He contributed $ 1.75 million to Governor Gavin Newsom’s successful fight against the recall.

Newsom has a reputation as one of the strongest supporters of vaccination mandates among state governors. His administration had ordered all state employees, including those in prisons, to be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19.

Vaccination mandate for prison workers in California suspended by judge

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in San Francisco in September.
(AP Photo / Jeff Chiu, on file)


Yet Newsom opposed it when a federal judge last month order that all employees entering California prisons be vaccinated or have a religious or medical exemption. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar’s ruling removed the ability for prison workers to avoid vaccinations and instead undergo frequent COVID-19 testing.

Newsom filed a notice on Tuesday saying the state was considering appealing the ruling, leaving it in limbo.