Hochul: New York will appeal decision to uphold religious exemptions to vaccine mandate

Gov. Kathy Hochul says New York will appeal a Utica judge's decision to continue to allow religious exemptions to the state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 5:29 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2021 5:35 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. Kathy Hochul says New York will appeal a Utica judge's decision to continue to allow religious exemptions to the state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers.

In mid-September, Judge David Hurd blocked the state from enforcing the mandate, ordering state officials to respond to the lawsuit by Sept. 22. A court hearing was originally scheduled for Sept. 28 but postponed for two weeks.

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, Hurd ruled against the mandate again, saying the “Department of Health is barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination or that they revoke any exemptions employers already granted” prior to the mandate.

Hochul said Wednesday she is working with the state attorney general’s office to appeal the decision in the second circuit Court of Appeals, maintaining her stance that religious exemptions aren’t valid based on statements from religious leaders.

If someone needs more confirmation, if they're going to use the religious exemption -- and I think the courts should pay attention too -- what the religious leaders are saying is that they want people to get vaccinated. It's simple. We want to make sure people are safe and doing the smartest thing we can, getting vaccinated,” said Hochul.

The initial lawsuit was filed by 17 health professionals in New York, all Christians, who say they don’t want the vaccine because aborted fetus cell lines were used in either testing, development or production.

Hochul provided quotes from religious leaders in support of vaccination, including the Catholic Archdiocese of New York saying, “Pope Francis has made it very clear that it is morally acceptable to take any of the vaccines and said we have the moral responsibility to get vaccinated.”

Below are the current vaccination rates among health care workers at certain facilities based on state data:

  • Nursing homes: 97%
  • Hospitals: 96%
  • Adult care facilities: 96%
  • Home health agencies: 94%

 

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2523560

Reported Deaths: 56130
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33405310847
Queens31536810288
Suffolk2395573605
Nassau2143703293
Bronx2076626751
New York1681074636
Westchester1436362340
Erie1064171949
Richmond889441935
Monroe842971188
Orange57538920
Rockland53112779
Onondaga52054761
Dutchess35615499
Albany30838390
Oneida28644589
Broome24451405
Niagara24031397
Saratoga20287200
Ulster17273278
Schenectady16731227
Rensselaer14808167
Putnam1249298
Chautauqua12428175
Oswego11668113
Chemung10932156
St. Lawrence10524127
Steuben10133173
Ontario9352110
Jefferson888076
Cayuga8658107
Sullivan847383
Wayne816784
Cattaraugus7732115
Genesee7013132
Herkimer6806128
Clinton672540
Tompkins650459
Fulton6331104
Madison6187102
Montgomery5966141
Livingston572771
Warren546084
Cortland534279
Tioga509471
Columbia5009111
Chenango468986
Allegany461597
Washington461367
Otsego457555
Wyoming439358
Greene438586
Orleans434187
Franklin428020
Lewis360338
Delaware356047
Seneca274163
Essex230731
Schoharie229521
Yates164728
Schuyler153817
Hamilton4383
Unassigned14426
Out of NY0317
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