Judge Blocks New York State from Imposing COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate on Medical Workers

A federal judge temporarily blocked the state of New York on Sept. 14 from mandating medical workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

United States District Judge David Hurd in Utica issued an order to temporarily block the New York State Department of Health from imposing the vaccine mandate after 17 medical professionals filed a complaint last Sept. 13.

In the complaint, the medical workers said that the mandate violated the U.S. Constitution, as well as the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law, for not providing exemptions for “sincere religious beliefs.”

The judge gave the state until Sept. 22 to respond to the lawsuit in federal court.

Hazel Crampton-Hays, press secretary to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, said in a statement to digital media company The Hill that the governor’s office is “considering all legal options to keep our communities safe.”

“Requiring vaccination of healthcare workers is critical to this battle. This order does not suspend the vaccine mandate, but it temporarily bars the Department of Health from enforcing the mandate where individuals have claims for religious exemption,” Crampton-Hays said.

New York state issued the vaccine mandate last August, requiring at least one vaccine dose for healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes by Sept. 27.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement last August that the vaccine mandate would help reduce the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

“The data and science tell us that getting more people vaccinated as quickly as possible is the best way to keep people safe, prevent further mutations, and enable us to resume our daily routines,” Zucker said.

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