(Sept 15): Two vaccine mandates imposed on health workers in New York state and New York City teachers were temporarily blocked by judges.
State court judge Laurence L. Love issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday barring New York City’s health department from requiring education workers to be vaccinated. Love’s order was issued just hours after a federal judge temporarily blocked New York state officials from imposing a Covid-19 vaccine requirement on health care workers who claim the shot violates their religious beliefs.
U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Albany set a hearing for Sept. 28 to consider whether the order sought by the health workers should be extended. Love scheduled a hearing for Sept. 22.
Unions representing teachers sued the city on Sept. 9 seeking to stop the vaccine mandate, which takes effect Sept. 27, from going into effect.
A group of 17 medical professionals separately sued New York Governor Kathy Hochul and other state officials to try to invalidate the law, claiming it violates their religious beliefs because the vaccines were tested, developed or manufactured using cell lines from aborted fetuses. Though the Covid vaccines do not contain cells of aborted fetuses, they and many other vaccines were developed and tested using fetal cell lines obtained from two abortions that took place decades ago.
“They oppose abortion under any circumstances, as they believe that abortion is the intrinsically evil killing of an innocent, and thus they also oppose the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines for medical purposes and abortion-derived fetal stem cell research,” their lawyer said in the complaint filed Tuesday.
Hochul’s press secretary, Hazel Crampton-Hays, said the mandate is part of the governor’s battle against the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus, which is causing a spike in cases and deaths nationwide.
“This order does not suspend the vaccine mandate, but it temporarily bars the Department of Health from enforcing the mandate where individuals have claims for religious exemption,” Crampton-Hays said in an emailed statement. “We are considering all of our legal options to keep our communities safe.”
The state case is Dr. A. v. Hochul, 21-cv-01009, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York (Albany). The city case is New York City Municipal Labor Committee v. City of New York, 158368/2021, New York State Supreme Court, New York County.