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A judge on Wednesday blocked an order due to take effect this week that required California prison workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kern County Judge Bernard Berman issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the enforcement of vaccination mandates for guard and peace officers represented by a powerful union, while the court weighs the request for a preliminary injunction, the Sacramento B. informed of.

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The public health mandate, due into effect Friday, will still apply to other workers who work in prisons that have health care facilities.

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It aims to prevent another coronavirus outbreak like the deaths of 28 inmates and a corrections officer at San Quentin State Prison last year.

Overall, since the start of the pandemic, the virus has killed 240 inmates and 39 prison staff.

However, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association opposes mandates for its members. The group has great influence with the state’s Democratic Party-controlled political structure. It contributed $1.75 million to the successful fight against the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom.

Newsom has a reputation among state governors as one of the strongest supporters of the vaccine mandate. His administration had ordered all state employees lodged in jails to be vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 tests.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in San Francisco in September.

Yet Newsom was opposed when a federal judge last month ordered that all employees entering California prisons be vaccinated or have a religious or medical exemption. US District Judge John Tiger’s decision removed the option for prison staff to avoid vaccination and instead undergo repeated COVID-19 testing.

Newsom filed a notice Tuesday that the state plans to appeal that decision, leaving it in limbo.