No More Religious Exemptions From Vaccine Mandate in New York
A religious exemption won't get you out of the vaccine mandate in New York State.
A three-judge panel in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a lower-court ruling allowing state employees to avoid getting vaccines over religious objections. The ruling allows New York to mandate hospital and long-term care facility workers get vaccinated. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered state employees to get at least one dose of the vaccine by September 27. Current Governor Kathy Hochul is standing by the vaccine mandate and applauds the court's decision.
"On Day One, I pledged as Governor to battle this pandemic and take bold action to protect the health of all New Yorkers," Hochul said in a statement. "I commend the Second Circuit's findings affirming our first-in-the-nation vaccine mandate, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe."
16,000 New York State health care workers have been granted religious exemptions, according to CNN.
Cameron Atkinson, an attorney representing three nurses fighting the state mandate, said he is appealing the decision.
"New York's mandate forces an abominable choice on New York healthcare workers: abandon their faith or lose their careers," said attorney Cameron Atkinson, who represents three nurses. "They have committed their futures to God's hands, and we remain optimistic that the United States Supreme Court will strike down New York's discriminatory mandate as violating the First Amendment."
While the case plays out in the courts, hospitals will not be able to keep staff who aren't vaccinated