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(LifeSiteNews) – At least nine mostly Democrat-led states, including California, Pennsylvania, and Oregon have announced new COVID-19 vaccine requirements this week, as more than a dozen states move to implement some sort of mandate for experimental coronavirus shots.

On Wednesday, California became the first state to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing for all public and private K-12 school teachers and other school employees.

An order issued by the California Department of Public Health declared that schools “must verify vaccine status of all workers” and “must have a plan in place for tracking verified worker vaccination status.” Teachers who refuse COVID-19 injections will be subjected to weekly testing, regardless of whether they already have natural immunity to the virus.

The order cited spread of the Delta variant and said that unvaccinated people “are more likely to get infected and spread the virus,” which the CDC has refuted amid a wave of breakthrough cases among vaccinated Americans.

The California health department further claimed that mass vaccination would create a “wrap-around safety layer for unvaccinated students.” Studies have routinely shown that children diagnosed with COVID-19 are most commonly asymptomatic or only suffer minor symptoms.

“We think this is the right thing to do, and we think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), ahead of a recall election next month that recent polling has shown him losing by over 10 points.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) rolled out vaccine requirements Wednesday as well, mandating that on-site state employees show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a weekly negative test, starting September 8. California imposed a similar rule in July.

“Employees who are not vaccinated will be required to receive a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week in order to work on-site at all public workplaces around the state,” a press release from Gov. Walz’s office said. It stressed alleged threats of “highly contagious variants.”

Both Gov. Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania and Gov. Dan McKee (D) of Rhode Island had issued vaccine mandates for state health care workers the day before, and Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont did so as well for public employees.

Wolf’s move has prompted threats of legal action from Pennsylvania’s prison guards’ union, which slammed the measure in a letter to the governor yesterday as “a slap in the face — and frankly, way too late because thousands of our members already have been infected, due to your inaction.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Tuesday also unveiled vaccine requirements for Oregon employees by October 18, or six weeks after the FDA grants full approval to a COVID-19 shot, the Statesman Journal reported. The FDA is expected to complete an expedited approval process for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by Labor Day.

“I trust Oregonians even if the governor doesn’t,” Republican House Minority Rep. Christian Drazan (R-Canby) responded. “She shouldn’t be trying to control every aspect of their lives with mask and vaccine mandates.” Brown continues to take flack from Republicans over a law that she signed last month that cuts reading and math proficiency from high school graduation requirements.

Washington went a step further with COVID-19 vaccine restrictions this week, with a mandate targeting hundreds of thousands of private health care workers that precludes a testing option for refusers. Those without proof of vaccination will need a medical or religious exemption by October to keep their jobs, according to the governor’s office.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills of Maine yesterday announced a similar order. “With this move, Maine becomes one of the most aggressive states in the nation in requiring vaccination of health care workers,” a press release from Mills celebrated.

In a news conference Thursday, she touted that “there won’t be many places to go” for medical professionals, including dentists and paramedics, seeking to avoid compulsory vaccination with an experimental COVID-19 jab in Maine. “Quite frankly, if everybody does this, and we’re requiring all licenses to do it, there won’t be many places to go. People will not be able to quit their job and go to another job as readily,” Mills said.

Delaware on Thursday also joined the rapidly expanding list of Democrat states with coronavirus vaccine mandates. Gov. John Carney (D) issued a vaccine or testing requirement for state and health care workers and urged businesses to follow suit, local news reported.

Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia have already imposed COVID-19 vaccination requirements of some kind in the last month. Many U.S. cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have enacted even more restrictive measures.

The Biden administration has led the push for sweeping, coercive vaccine dictates, announcing earlier this week that all members of the U.S. military and all federal health care employees will have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in the coming weeks. The White House had announced vaccine or testing requirements for federal employees in July.

Legal groups have pointed out, however, that coronavirus vaccine mandates may violate federal law prior to full authorization of the shots. “The COVID vaccines are in a special category and cannot be treated like FDA licensed vaccines,” according to a memo by Liberty Counsel:

Federal law requires full and informed, voluntary consent. All employees – whether employed by religious organizations, or not – are protected against mandated COVID-19 vaccines, under 21 U.S.C. §360bbb-3, which provides that EUA products (like all of these vaccines) require (as a condition of emergency approval) that people have “the option to accept or refuse administration of the product.”

Americans can also apply for religious, philosophical, or medical exemptions to vaccine mandates, depending on where they live. Chicago’s Loyola University last week backtracked on strict vaccination rules for a group of students who were denied religious exemptions, in the face of a lawsuit threatened by Liberty Counsel.