UTICA (WENY) – On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked parts of New York State’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers.
Under the mandate, healthcare workers were required to have their first vaccine by September 27 and their second by October 7; those who refused would face termination.
Shortly before issuing the mandate, the New York State Department of Health announced they would not allow any religious exemptions.
Seventeen healthcare workers filed a lawsuit against Governor Kathy Hochul, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and State Attorney General Letitia James, alleging “their sincere religious beliefs compel them to refuse the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available” and that the mandate violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the Supremacy Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.
Tuesday, US District Judge David Hurd the DoH cannot deny religious exemptions for the vaccine, meaning the state is temporarily barred from enforcing the mandate on those refusing the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons.