New York state’s newly minted vaccine mandate is already being contested in a federal court.
The mandate would have required all health care workers in the state to be vaccinated, which could have resulted in the firing of over 40,000 workers.
On Thursday, however, a lawyer representing three nurses was granted a temporary restraining order against the new law, according to WABC-TV.
The injunction temporarily blocks the state from enforcing the vaccination mandate on health care workers with a religious exemption.
The three-judge panel that made the decision also set a hearing for Oct. 14, when, presumably, it will decide whether or not to extend such protections indefinitely.
WABC-TV also reported that a “separate judge had already issued a similar restraining order upstate until Oct. 12.”
Similar mandates are set to go into effect in states across the country, including California, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina and Delaware, according to Leading Age.
But New York’s mandate is more strict.
Whereas those other states allow for health care workers to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing should they not wish to take the vaccine, New York does not.
The timing of New York’s new mandate could not be more inconvenient for the state’s hospitals, which have been facing staffing issues throughout the pandemic.
“After 18 months of this pandemic, our providers are burned out. Many are leaving the profession because it is impacting their mental and physical health,” said Carri Chan, faculty director for Columbia University’s Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program.
“Demand for hospital care due to COVID-19 patients has grown substantially in the last few months and, unfortunately, appears to continue to increase in a number of states.”
This situation has deteriorated so rapidly that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is even considering mobilizing the state’s National Guard to fill the gap left by the tens of thousands of soon-to-be-fired workers.
Nevertheless, many New York health care workers who wish to remain unvaccinated — including Deborah Conrad, a nurse with almost 20 years of experience — refuse to budge.
“I’m wearing the same exact PPE I’ve worn the whole pandemic and it’s always kept myself and patients safe. Why has that changed?” she said, according to CBS News.
When asked if she was prepared to lose her job, Conrad replied, “A career that I’ve loved for almost 20 years — I am prepared.”
If Conrad and others wish to apply for a religious exemption from the mandate, some 40,000 New York health care workers may soon be given the chance.
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