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Oklahoma AG joins lawsuit over health vaccine mandate

November 16, 2021 GMT
FILE - John O'Connor speaks after being sworn in as Oklahoma's new attorney general at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Friday, July 23, 2021. Attorney General O'Connor is among 12 state attorneys general filing a federal lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers. O'Connor said Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, that Oklahoma has a shortage of nurses and the mandate will worsen the situation. (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
FILE - John O'Connor speaks after being sworn in as Oklahoma's new attorney general at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Friday, July 23, 2021. Attorney General O'Connor is among 12 state attorneys general filing a federal lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers. O'Connor said Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, that Oklahoma has a shortage of nurses and the mandate will worsen the situation. (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
FILE - John O'Connor speaks after being sworn in as Oklahoma's new attorney general at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Friday, July 23, 2021. Attorney General O'Connor is among 12 state attorneys general filing a federal lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers. O'Connor said Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, that Oklahoma has a shortage of nurses and the mandate will worsen the situation. (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma is among 12 state attorneys general filing a federal lawsuit over the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers.

Attorney General John O’Connor said Tuesday that Oklahoma has a shortage of nurses as it was, and the mandate would worsen the situation.

“I will not tolerate the Biden administration threatening Oklahoma healthcare workers with their jobs after they have fearlessly braved the pandemic,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor has also sued Ascension Healthcare over its vaccine mandate for employees in the Tulsa area and said Ascension was violating a state judge’s Friday order restraining the mandate.

O’Connor said he sent the company a cease-and-desist letter, telling it to reinstate employees who were suspended or fired after seeking religious exemptions to the vaccinations.

“It appears that Ascension is determined to trample on the sincerely held religious beliefs of the healthcare heroes it employs,” O’Connor said.

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Ascension has moved the case to federal court. Company representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

O’Connor previously joined more than a dozen other states in a Nov. 4 lawsuit that challenged a COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirement at all private employers of 100 workers or more.