UTICA, NY – On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the State’s order mandating health care workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The decision came after a group of healthcare workers got together and filed a lawsuit due to their rights being violated, as the mandate didn’t allow for religious exemptions against the vaccine.

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The lawsuit was filed by 17 doctors and nurses who identified as Catholic or Christian. Judge David Hurd gave the State until September 22nd to respond. A hearing will take place on September 28 should New York State decide to fight the blocking of the mandate.

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The health care professionals are so concerned about the mandate and the threat of losing their livelihoods that they disguised their names in the lawsuit. Examples of the pseudonyms are “Dr. A.,” “Nurse A.,” and “Physician Liaison X.” This, they said is because without blocking their identity, they “run the risk of ostracization, threats of harm, immediate firing and other retaliatory consequences if their names become known.”

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The plaintiffs are all practicing doctors, nurses, a nuclear medicine technologist, a cognitive rehabilitation therapist, and a physician’s liaison. The lawsuit specifically said that the plaintiffs are not “anti-vaxxers” opposed to all vaccines.

Alleged in the suit are violations of the U.S. Constitution, the New York State Human Rights Law, and New York City Human Rights Law, due to their lack of accommodation for “sincere religious beliefs that compel the refusal of such vaccination,” based on all vaccines using “aborted fetus cells for testing, development or production.”

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The lawsuit also alleged a violation of the First Amendment’s freedom of religion and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Named in the lawsuit are Governor Kathy Hochul, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, and Attorney General Letitia James.

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