NY Drops Mandatory Vaccination Rule

A judge had issued a temporary restraining order on Oct. 16 to halt enforcement of the New York State regulation, but the governor's office said the rule was suspended because of limited supply of vaccines.

Health workers in New York State won't be required to receive flu vaccination after all, now that the state has suspended a mandatory vaccination regulation. The New York Times reported the reversal last night and said Gov. David A. Paterson said it was done because H1N1 vaccine is in short supply.

The State Supreme Court in Manhattan was scheduled to hold a hearing on Monday to decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent the New York State Department of Health from enforcing the emergency regulation, which was issued in late September and would have meant hundreds of thousands of workers would have been required to accept seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations. The case was filed on behalf of Suzanne Field, a nurse who works in the Poughkeepsie, N.Y. area.

The New York State Nurses Association, with 37,000 members the state's largest union for registered nurses, encourages nurses to voluntarily receive flu vaccine but contends the regulation is unwarranted in the absence of a declared emergency. "The rule appears to interfere with the freedom to contract between employers and employees and violates the free exercise of religion by denying exemptions to employees whose religious beliefs prevent them from being vaccinated," NYSNA says.

In Albany, State Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. McNamara had issued a temporary restraining order on Oct. 16 to halt enforcement of the regulation.

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