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An aerial view San Quentin State Prison on July 8, 2020. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked an order requiring all California prison workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or have a religious or medical exemption.

Driving the news: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday approved a request for a stay of the order pending appeal. The vaccination mandate was set to go into effect by Jan. 12, but the stay blocks enforcement until March, AP reports.

The big picture: U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had rejected the original stay request for the vaccine mandate, which impacts prison workers, inmates who want in-person visits or who work outside prisons.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) joined the state's prison agency in appealing the order.
  • The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the corrections officers' labor union in California, warned that the vaccine mandate could create staffing shortages, per AP.
  • Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office, told AP that the stay "puts both the prison staff and the incarcerated population at greater risk of infection."
  • Approximately 50,640 California state prisoners have had COVID-19 since the pandemic began and at least 242 have died, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

What to watch: The appeals court order sets Dec. 13 as the deadline for opening briefs.

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2022 - Health

America's vaccination drive runs out of gas

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The U.S. is likely reaching the end of the road on new vaccinations, after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for large employers.

Why it matters: Cash prizes and other incentives barely moved the needle on vaccinations. So the government turned from carrots to sticks — but now it has lost its biggest stick.

Newsom denies parole for Robert F. Kennedy's assassin

Sirhan Sirhan in 1983. Photo: Bettmann/Contributor via Getty images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday denied parole to Robert F. Kennedy's assassin Sirhan Sirhan, saying that the 77-year-old "poses an unreasonable threat to public safety."

Driving the news: Newsom rejected a recommendation made in August by a California Parole Board panel, who agreed to a conditional release for Sirhan.

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

Army disciplines nearly 3,000 soldiers for refusing COVID vaccine

Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday it issued 2,994 written reprimands to soldiers for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate and relieved six active-duty commanders from leadership positions for refusing to get vaccinated.

The big picture: Two battalion commanders were among those removed, per an Army statement. It's received 2,128 religious exemption requests but has yet to grant any. It approved five medical exemptions. 96% of active-duty soldiers are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Go deeper: More than 200 Marines removed for defying COVID vaccine mandate