NY state responds to healthcare vaccine mandate lawsuit

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The state just made Wednesday night’s 5:00 p.m. deadline submitting a response to a lawsuit against its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

The NYS Attorney General’s office filed papers in a federal court in Utica. A judge put a temporary restraining order on enforcing the mandate because it does not include religious exemptions.

The state released on Wednesday a 22-page response to the lawsuit.

The report argues that providing a religious exemption for a COVID-19 vaccine would be inconsistent with previous regulations for medical workers.

The AG’s office says religious exemptions have not been offered for hospital workers and other healthcare setting employees for other vaccines including the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

They say vaccinations are necessary for healthcare workers because they tend to work with patients who are at a greater risk of severe disease from COVID-19 or might not be vaccinated due to health reasons.

Opponents of the requirement have said it’s causing more people to leave the medical field and could lead to workers shortages.

“The vast majority of these healthcare workers were considered heroes. They risked their lives and now you have 30-35% of the people being threatened of firing,” said Corey Willig Buffalo Attorney at HoganWillig.

The state also pointed out that more than 50 medical professional societies and organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have called for all healthcare employers to require vaccines for their workers.

The mandate was set to take effect on Monday, Sep. 27. However, the enforcement is on hold while the case makes its way through the courts.

The judge will issue a decision on a preliminary injunction before the temporary restraining order expires on October 12.

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