Is NY judge right to block vaccine mandate for health workers?


Fact Box

  • New York Judge David Hurd temporarily blocked the state from requiring healthcare workers to get COVID-19 vaccines for those with religious objections. His response came from a lawsuit filed Monday, September 13, 2021, by 17 Christian healthcare professionals arguing the mandate did not allow for religious exemptions. 
  • As of Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 61.9% of the population of New York have been fully vaccinated while 69.3% have at least one dose. 
  • The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that employers have the “legal right” to make a vaccine requirement, but employees also have the right to request reasonable accommodations
  • On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a federally-imposed vaccine mandate for 80+ million private sector and federal American workers. Employers with 100+ workers must require vaccination or weekly tests.

Stephanie (Yes)

Finally, someone in a position of authority has made some sense out of the COVID madness. District Judge David Hurd recently ruled that New York's COVID vaccine mandate will not apply to those with legitimate religious exemptions. This is a monumental ruling considering the divided state of our nation. While the political Right is often quick to cite constitutional rights, in this case, a judge from a Left-leaning state proudly advocated for the first and fourteenth amendments, along with other civil liberties. 

It is vital to consider these rights in a practical sense as it relates to COVID: there are undoubtedly people in the everyday community who cannot return to a 'normal' job setting because of vaccine mandates. In the NY case, it applied to 17 medical workers who turned down the vaccine due to ethical concerns that it was tested on fetal cell lines.

Some may oppose this ruling, but it is ultimately for the best as healthcare practitioners who are genuinely dedicated to the cause of helping others can now continue to do so while still retaining their religious values and general commitment to communal health. And these everyday heroes absolutely deserve the ability to exercise these rights considering they have risked their own health for the sake of others. Also, Hurd's ruling was not reckless regarding COVID precautions, as all NY workers must still follow local COVID mandates, regardless of vaccination status.

The unfortunate reality of COVID is that while it has affected almost everyone across the globe, we are more divided than ever. However, Judge Hurd's decision was notable, as it considered a vital health matter without disregarding personal liberties.

Morgan (No)

Healthcare workers should be vaccinated to prevent infecting the people they care for, and is part of the Hippocratic oath they take as healthcare professionals to care for those who are ill or injured and to not further harm. Not being COVID-19 vaccinated puts millions in harm's way, especially those who have autoimmune diseases being treated in hospitals. These healthcare institutions should be safe places for those individuals—not another COVID hotspot. 

Those who disagree with this lifesaving vaccine mandate are free to pursue other careers or practice in other states where COVID-19 vaccines aren't mandated. There are several vaccines that all healthcare workers are required to get and, though these required vaccines vary slightly by state, there is no leeway. These vaccines are required not only for the safety of patients to avoid transmission between patients but also for the safety of staff who are likely to come in contact with a wide variety of life-threatening illnesses in addition to COVID-19. Now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, there is no logical reason for anyone, especially a healthcare worker, to be opposed to getting the vaccine as part of their job. 

Everyone needs to do their part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its many variants, and if part of our population isn't vaccinated, that will allow the virus to continue to mutate. These mutations, such as the Delta variant, can and have affected vaccinated individuals, rendering their vaccines useless and continuing this health crisis for the foreseeable future.

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