Federal judge blocks medical worker vaccine mandate in New York state

New York State

UTICA, N.Y. (WROC/AP) — 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.

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.

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.

URMC released a statement Tuesday saying “more than 91 percent of Strong employees are vaccinated, and many more have indicated they will become vaccinated before Sept. 27.”

It goes on to say:

As we continue to encourage vaccination, UR Medicine hospitals are working as a system to minimize impacts on patient care after unvaccinated employees are no longer able to work. One step under consideration at Strong is not to schedule new elective surgeries for the two-week period beginning Sept. 27, which would free up staff who could be redeployed to critical care areas.

We are currently developing and adjusting contingency plans based on many variables, including today’s ruling by a federal judge in Utica regarding the vaccine mandate. We will continue planning as a system to maintain high-quality patient care with minimal disruptions as the mandate deadline approaches, and will communicate more extensively as the impact of this ruling and other details become clear.

URMC

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