Syracuse, N.Y., Oct 14, 2021 / 11:00 am
Medical workers in New York can seek religious exemptions from a state COVID-19 vaccine mandate while a lawsuit challenging the requirement advances, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Health care workers challenging the mandate have established that it “conflicts with longstanding federal protections for religious beliefs and that they and others will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive relief,” Judge David Hurd wrote in his Oct. 12 decision granting a preliminary injunction to prevent the state health department enforcing the mandate.
Then-governor Andrew Cuomo announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all medical workers in the state in August. The mandate covers staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, adult care facilities, and other care settings, and did not include a religious exemption.
A group of 17 medical professionals claim the mandate violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.