Judge blocks medical worker vaccine mandate in NY state

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Posted at 1:46 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 23:40:10-04

UTICA, N.Y. (AP/WKBW) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked the state of New York from forcing medical workers to be vaccinated after a group of health care workers sued, saying their Constitutional rights were violated.

"The complaint is focused on the fact that the vaccine mandate ordered by Commissioner Zucker specifically says that religious exemption is not available, and that the only exemption available is medical," Corey Hogan, an attorney at HoganWillig Attorneys at Law, said.

Judge David Hurd in Utica issued the order Tuesday after 17 health professionals, including doctors and nurses, claimed that their rights were violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed religious exemptions.

"It doesn't mean much because it's what is known as a temporary restraining order," Retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang said, "If it was enforced and it was not temporary, if it became a permanent injunction, then it would effect by precedent, all of the state would have to follow."

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

The state issued the order Aug. 28, requiring at least a first shot for health care workers at hospitals and nursing homes by Sept. 27.