On Friday, January 13, 2022, a New York State Supreme Court Judge for Onondaga County struck down the New York State Department of Health regulation mandating certain healthcare professionals be “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, declaring the regulation to be “null, void, and of no effect.” (Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, et. al. v. Bassett, et al.)
The New York State Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate initially was enacted as an Executive Order in August 2021 under then Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers. Almost one year after the state of emergency ended in New York, the New York State Health Commissioner adopted the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate as a permanent regulation in June 2022.
On October 20, 2022, Petitioners-Plaintiffs Medical Professionals for Informed Consent sought to enjoin and permanently restrain Defendants-Respondents, including the Commissioner of Health, Governor Hochul and the New York State Department of Health, from implementing or enforcing the COVID-19 Healthcare Vaccine Mandate.
The court held that New York State’s Public Health Law limits the Commissioner of Health from implementing any mandatory immunization program except as provided under the Public Health Law and that since none of the coronaviruses are covered under the Public Health Law, the Commissioner of Health acted outside the scope of her authority in implementing the vaccine mandate.
As of now, there has been no statement from the Department of Health regarding whether they intend to appeal the decision.
In the meantime, healthcare employers should be mindful that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ COVID-19 vaccine requirement may still apply to their organization.
If you have any questions about what this decision means for your organization, please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney.