New York must allow religious exemptions to state vaccination mandate, federal judge rules

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Judge David Hurd, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, has ruled that the state must allow healthcare workers to claim religious exemptions from the state's COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to USA Today.

The ruling comes after the judge in September extended a temporary restraining order, which froze enforcement of the state mandate's prohibition of religious exemptions until Oct. 12 as part of a case brought by 17 medical workers against New York officials.

In his latest ruling, Mr. Hurd granted a preliminary injunction temporarily prohibiting the state from enforcing the mandate against healthcare workers claiming religious exemptions, according to the report.

New York required healthcare workers at hospitals and nursing homes to receive their first vaccine dose by Sept. 27. Workers at other places covered by the mandate, including diagnostic and treatment centers, home health agencies, long-term home healthcare programs, school-based clinics and hospice care programs, were required to have at least one dose by Oct. 7. The state also recently expanded the mandate to include employees who work in facilities treating mental health patients and people with developmental disabilities.

The healthcare workers suing the state sought a preliminary injunction against the vaccination mandate's prohibition of religious exemptions.

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