Maine Gov. Janet Mills speaks to reporters in the Maine State House, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Augusta. Credit: David Sharp / AP

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer refused Tuesday to grant an emergency injunction to keep Gov. Janet Mills vaccine mandate from being enforced.

Maine’s mandate requires health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 29 or risk losing their jobs.

It was the third legal defeat in less than a week for opponents of the mandate.

The opponents’ underlying case challenging the mandate will now go forward before the appellate court in Boston.

In denying the emergency motion, Breyer said that Liberty Counsel, the organization that sued Mills over the vaccine mandate on behalf of health care workers who have religious objections to it, may seek an emergency injunction again if the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in the state’s favor or does not issue a decision by Oct. 29.

A three-judge panel in Boston on Friday rejected a similar emergency motion that appealed the ruling of a federal judge in Maine who declined to halt the vaccine mandate. But the appellate court fast-tracked the case so that a detailed ruling could be issued before the enforcement deadline in 10 days.

Briefs were filed Monday for the appellate court along with “friend of the court” filings by a group of organizations that support the mandate.