Fight heats up against New York's healthcare vaccine rule

A group of 10 New York lawmakers is targeting the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

In a Jan. 19 letter, the lawmakers express concern to Gov. Kathy Hochul 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."

Lawmakers wrote the letter days after a state Supreme Court judge struck down the mandate, calling it "null, void and of no effect." 

In his ruling, Judge Gerard Neri said the governor 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. 

The health department has the option to appeal.

The department shared the following statement with Becker's after the judge's decision: "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. The state health department strongly disagrees with the judge's decision and is exploring all options."

Becker's reached out to the governor's office and will update the story if a comment is received.

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