Dr. Danielle Scheurer of MUSC Health gets the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine | Photo via MUSC Health by Sarah Pack

SC federal judge allows local governments’ COVID-19 vaccine mandates to stand

U.S. District Judge David Norton of Charleston Thursday denied an effort by nearly 80 firefighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies and paramedics to stop a number of vaccination mandates from taking effect in different municipalities in the Charleston area in November.

Norton said the plaintiffs, which filed suit against North Charleston, Charleston County, the city of Charleston and the St. John’s Fire District failed to present a viable legal theory in their attempts to block the mandates and rejected their motion for a temporary restraining order.

“Their right to express themselves by refusing the COVID-19 vaccine is outweighed by the government’s interest in protecting their employees and communities from a deadly infectious disease,” Norton wrote in a 51-page opinion.

Four separate lawsuits were filed against each government imposing the mandates. However, the suits were similar enough in their respective legal arguments for the judge to hear them together in federal court.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 1,059 total cases of COVID-19 Oct. 22, with 738 confirmed. A total of 62 new deaths, 48 confirmed, were also reported Friday.

With 25,078 tests reported, 4.5% were confirmed positive.

Percentage of S.C. residents with at least one vaccine: 62%
Percentage of S.C. residents who have completed vaccination: 54.3%