Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to New York vaccine mandate for health care workers


Well being care staff protest towards being pressured to get the Covid-19 vaccine on August 27, 2021, outdoors the New York State Workplace Constructing in Hauppauge, New York.

Alejandra Villa Loarca | Newsday | Getty Photographs

The Supreme Court declined Thursday to take up a authorized problem introduced by well being care staff in New York who oppose the state’s vaccine mandate on non secular grounds.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch stated the court docket ought to have taken the case. 

When the requirement was first imposed last August as a means to assist forestall the unfold of the most recent Covid variant, it allowed exceptions based mostly on medical causes or non secular objections. However the non secular exemption was later eliminated.  

Gov. Kathy Hochul, who’s Roman Catholic, stated she was not conscious of any “sanctioned non secular objection from any organized faith” and that non secular leaders together with the Pope have been encouraging folks to get vaccinated.

Sixteen well being care staff sued, saying they’d non secular objections as a result of fetal cell traces have been concerned within the testing, improvement, or manufacturing of Covid vaccines. They stated the mandate violated their non secular freedom as a result of it allowed others who have been unvaccinated to proceed working. 

However attorneys for the state stated the Covid mandate was just like longstanding guidelines requiring well being care staff to be vaccinated towards measles and rubella. These necessities, too, enable exemptions just for medical causes. Laboratory-grown stem cells, which derive from cells collected from a fetus almost 50 years in the past, have been additionally used for testing the rubella vaccine, the state stated.

“The presence of a single, restricted medical exemption to a vaccine requirement doesn’t require the State to supply a blanket non secular exemption from vaccination,” they stated of their written submissions. 

Writing for the three dissenters, Thomas stated confusion stays a few mandate like New York’s that gives no non secular exemption. He stated the court docket ought to have taken the case now to move off related confusion sooner or later. 

Final December, the Supreme Courtroom declined to briefly block the vaccine requirement within the case. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch stated then that the court docket ought to have granted the request to place the mandate on maintain.   

Since final fall, the court docket has declined to dam different vaccine mandates that do not present for non secular exemptions, making use of to New York academics, Navy sailors, well being care staff in Maine and Massachusetts, and faculty college students in Indiana.

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