A nurse prepares coronavirus vaccines at a mobile pop-up vaccination clinic in Detroit, Mich., July 26, 2021. (Emily Elconin/Reuters)

The Justice Department requested that the Supreme Court uphold the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for health-care workers in a Thursday filing.

The administration’s mandate would require all workers at facilities affiliated with Medicare and Medicaid to get vaccinated for coronavirus. Ordered by President Biden, the mandate was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The Secretary of Health and Human Services exercised his express statutory authority to protect the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid patients by requiring healthcare facilities that choose to participate in those programs to ensure that their staff are vaccinated (subject to medical and religious exemptions),” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in the filing.

Prelogar added that the policy would “save hundreds or even thousands of lives each month.” The mandate would cover over 10 million health care workers in the U.S., CNN reported.

Various states have sued to block the CMS mandate, although the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday lifted a nationwide hold on the mandate applied by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty on November 30. The Fifth Circuit, based in New Orleans, allowed the hold on the mandate to continue in 14 states that sued in Louisiana to block the mandate.

Doughty initially argued that only Congress has the authority to issue such a mandate.

“If the executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the legislative branch to make laws, two of the three powers conferred by our Constitution would be in the same hands,” Doughty wrote in his ruling.

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