Legal implications of Gov. Cuomo’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

New York State

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new mandate requires all healthcare workers to receive the vaccine, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.

Michael Burger, a legal expert, said how powerful the mandate is will depend on how strictly it is enforced.

“I imagine that one of the enforcement mechanisms will simply be that the employers won’t be allowed to hire anyone or have anyone who they hire be public facing who hasn’t been vaccinated,” said Burger.

Burger said any legal opposition to the mandate will likely be focused on infringement of an individual’s rights.

“It’s going to depend largely on the science, and the reasonableness of the request, and whether it intertwines with other rights. So, for instance we all have rights not to diverge our medical history, not to be discriminated against, to have reasonable accommodations made where we have a disability,” said Burger.

Going forward, a question is how many people in the field will need to get the vaccine compared to how many people will be exempt.

“How far towards a small population being affected can we get before the government no longer can make everybody get a vaccine against that? [It] comes down to who we elect, mostly,” said Burger.

The lawyer said while Kathy Hochul hasn’t made any statements regarding this mandate yet, it will most likely carry over when she takes office as well.

Healthcare workers are required to have the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 27th.

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