Update on New York State Healthcare Worker Vaccine Mandate

The mandate requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 can still be enforced in New York State, according to a federal appeals court.

Vaccine mandates for healthcare workers in New York State were first issued by former Governor Andrew Cuomo in mid-August 2021 and allowed for both medical and religious exemptions, a CBS News article explains. However, when Governor Kathy Hochul took office following Cuomo’s resignation, she updated the mandate—effective late September 2021—to cover a larger swath of healthcare entities and removed the religious exemption. A “narrow” medical exemption, however, remained. Individuals who did not comply with the order faced termination and were ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

In response, a group of medical providers challenged the order, claiming that it violated their religious rights.

On December 13, the Supreme Court upheld the mandate on the grounds that it was “neutral and generally applicable.”

We recently surveyed our insured healthcare facilities to determine the impact of the vaccine mandate on their operations and found an overall 95% vaccine rate across organizations. See here for more details on our findings.

We will continue to monitor the latest news related to healthcare worker vaccine mandates as it develops. For all COVID-19-related developments, please visit MLMIC’s dedicated resources page.