Judge blocks New York vaccination mandate for healthcare workers

(Reuters) – A U.S. judge in New York on Tuesday temporarily barred the state from enforcing a requirement that healthcare workers receive COVID-19 vaccines against the wishes of employees with religious objections.

U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Utica, New York, said in a written order that he prevents the warrant from coming into effect on September 27 because it does not allow exemptions based on workers’ religious beliefs.

The order came amid a lawsuit filed Monday by 17 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who claim the New York requirement violates their constitutional rights in various ways.

The plaintiffs are all Christians who say they oppose receiving the vaccines because cell lines from aborted fetuses have been used in their testing and development.

Judge Hurd gave the state until September 22 to respond to the lawsuit and said he would hold a September 28 hearing on whether to prevent the vaccine requirement from going into effect pending the outcome of the case.

The warrant was issued last month by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said at the time that about 75% of the state’s approximately 450,000 hospital workers were fully immunized.

The New York attorney general’s office, which represents the state, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither have the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

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