New York officials file appeal in healthcare worker vaccine mandate case

State officials have filed a notice of appeal in a case involving New York's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

The notice is in response to a state Supreme Court judge's decision Jan. 13 to strike down the mandate, which was enacted in 2021.

Judge Gerard Neri wrote in his ruling that Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State Department of Health overstepped their authority by making the requirement permanent because the COVID-19 vaccine is not included in the state's public health law, according to, which first reported the news.

"The mandate is beyond the scope of respondents' authority and is therefore null, void and of no effect," he wrote, according to

Mr. Neri's decision sides with the Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, a group of medical workers who filed a lawsuit against the state related to the mandate. 

Now, state officials are going through the appeals process. 

"As stated before, the requirement that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 protects vulnerable New Yorkers and the people who care for them, and it is a critical public health tool," according to a department of health response on behalf of the governor's office, shared with Becker's Jan. 27. "The state health department strongly disagrees with the judge's decision and has filed a notice of appeal. As this is ongoing litigation, we will not comment further."

Meanwhile, a fight against the vaccine rule recently heated up as a group of U.S. representatives from New York sent a letter to Ms. Hochul Jan. 19 expressing concern about staffing shortages they say have been exacerbated by the mandate.  

"The evidence is clear: the staffing shortage affecting New York's healthcare sector is a crisis and must be addressed," lawmakers wrote in the letter, which was led by Rep. Claudia Tenney with Rep. Elise Stefanik. "While long-term solutions must also be considered, it is imperative for your administration to drop its COVID-19 vaccine mandate immediately so that healthcare workers can return to serving their friends, loved ones and neighbors.

"Decades of healthcare experience are being left on the sidelines or pushed into other states as a result of the mandate. This is even more noteworthy given that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control director has publicly stated that the vaccine cannot prevent transmission."

Hospitals and health systems in New York are among those that lost workers who failed to comply with vaccine rules.

Earlier in January, Olean, N.Y.-based Upper Allegheny Health System told Becker's it is aware of the judge's ruling and the mandate case.

"Regardless of the outcome, we believe vaccination is a powerful tool in lowering the disease burden for our workforce as well as our patients," the health system said.

A spokesperson for Buffalo, N.Y.-based Erie County Medical Center told Becker's, "Given the state has filed a notice of appeal, we'll refrain from comment."

A spokesperson for Buffalo, N.Y.-based Catholic Health told Becker's: "It's status quo for now until the state's appeal is heard."

A spokesperson for New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health told Becker's the health system will continue to require compliance with its existing vaccination requirements, including CMS' vaccine requirement, and will monitor the status of the state health department's appeal.  

"As healthcare professionals and members of the largest healthcare provider in New York, we have a unique responsibility to protect the health and safety of our staff, our patients and the communities we serve and we believe that vaccination remains a critical layer of protection in raising the health of the communities in our care," the spokesperson said.

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