New York Gov. Kathy Hochul encouraged religious-minded people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying it is God’s will that they be vaccinated.
A lawyer argued in a federal appeals court on Wednesday that his comments on God could encourage hospitals and nursing homes to ignore court orders which, for now, are supposed to prevent them from punishing workers who fail to will not take the vaccine because of religious objections.
Health facilities in New York City this week began suspending workers who missed the state’s deadline for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Statewide, about 92% of staff in hospitals and nursing homes had received at least one dose of the vaccine by Wednesday morning, according to figures from the Hochul office.
New York’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers does not include a religious exemption, but due to legal challenges, courts have temporarily barred employers from enforcing the mandate against people with a sincere religious belief against the vaccination.
In oral argument on Wednesday, the judges of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan did not seem particularly impressed by an argument by Cameron Lee Atkinson, attorney for We The Patriots USA Inc., a group challenging the mandate of the State that Hochul’s comments on God discouraged health care employers from granting religious exemptions.
One of three judges on a panel said Atkinson’s claim that Hochul was telling people “God wants you to get the vaccine” was not the same as ordering employers to fire. the workers.
Many New York hospital workers who were on the fence have since been vaccinated against COVID-19 as the warrant went into effect Monday. But some holdouts remain and have been suspended without pay. NBC New York’s Ida Siegal reports.
Earlier this week, Hochul, who is a Roman Catholic, told a gathering of people at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn that God answered prayers and prompted scientists, doctors and researchers to successfully develop the vaccine against the coronavirus.
Those who are vaccinated are the “smart ones,” she said, adding that “you know there are people who don’t listen to God and what God wants. You know who they are.”
Attorney Steven Wu, Deputy Attorney General of New York, told appeals court judges the state was “in full compliance” with a temporary restraining order granted this month by the district judge American David N. Hurd who is preventing disciplinary action against healthcare workers who have requested a religious exemption.
Hurd is due to rule by Oct. 12 on a request for a more permanent order.
Months after the coronavirus vaccines were administered, researchers are studying how the vaccine affected menstrual cycles. While social media posts and newspaper articles have been written with anecdotes of people who have had irregular periods after receiving the vaccine, no medical journal has conducted studies to investigate the causes and effects.
The fact that Hurd’s temporary order is already in place left Circuit 2 wondering on Wednesday whether it should take action. He made no immediate decision.
The state health department has set up an operations center to monitor health care personnel, and Hochul tweeted on Wednesday that “no health facilities across the state have been reported closed. “.
“Our 24/7 operations center constantly monitors developments and works with the facilities to resolve any issues,” she tweeted. “We are ready to take further action if necessary. “