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February 2023: New York Judge Blocks COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Healthcare Facilities

15 Feb

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Update Applicable to:
All employers with healthcare employees in the state of New York.

What happened?
On January 17, 2023, a New York trial court judge struck down the state’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, ruling that the New York State Department of Health (DOH) acted outside its authority and noting that “the COVID-19 shots do not prevent transmission.”

What are the details?
The decision by Onondaga County Supreme Court Judge Gerard Neri in Medical Professionals for Informed Consent vs. Bassett sided with a group of medical professionals who had argued that the mandate was irrational and failed even to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The mandate, entitled “Prevention of COVID-19 transmission by covered entities,” was initially issued early in the COVID-19 pandemic and required covered healthcare providers in New York to “continuously require personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” The health commissioner later adopted the mandate as a permanent regulation in June 2022.

Judge Neri ruled that by adopting the regulation, the “DOH blatantly violated the boundaries of its authority as set forth by the legislature.” The judge said that it was so beyond the agency’s authority that it was not necessary to review the regulation under a typical multi-factor analysis.

The state has filed a notice of appeal seeking to overturn Judge Neri’s decision. According to reports, the DOH had issued a statement saying it disagreed with the ruling and was “exploring all options.”

For more information, please see the links below:

Medical Professionals for Informed Consent vs. Bassett

Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission by Covered Entities Mandate

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and be on the lookout for any more news regarding any more possible mandates in the near future.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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