LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal appeals court has declined to lift a ban in three states on President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers who contract with the federal government.

What You Need To Know

  • An appeals court upheld a temporary vaccine mandate ban for three states

  • An injunction issued in November blocked the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee

  • A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the injunction in a 2-1 ruling on Wednesday

  • The ruling applies only to those three states

A judge in Louisville, Kentucky, issued the preliminary injunction in November that blocked the mandate for that state and two others — Tennessee and Ohio.

A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the injunction in a 2-1 ruling on Wednesday.

“This ensures, while the case continues to proceed, that federal contractors in Kentucky aren’t subject to the Biden Administration’s unlawful mandate,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican who filed the suit challenging the mandate, said in an emailed statement Thursday. Cameron said in a release last year that federal contractors accounted for about one-fifth of the country’s labor force and $9 billion in contracts in 2021.

The lawsuit from the states claims the vaccination requirement is unlawful and unconstitutional. The mandate requiring employees of federal contractors to get vaccinated against COVID-19 had been set to take effect this week.

In his ruling in November, U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, wrote that “the question presented here is narrow. Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no.”

The ruling applies only to the three states.