A federal judge in New York has ruled in favor of health care workers who asked that religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate be accepted.
The Honorable David Hurd granted a preliminary injunction on Tuesday in the case of health care workers who sought the exemption outside of the state mandate, RochesterFirst reported.
The ruling comes less than a month after the same jurist extended a temporary restraining order against the state of New York that mandated worker vaccinations.
“The Department of Health is barred from taking any action, disciplinary or otherwise, against the licensure, certification, residency, admitting privileges or other professional status or qualification of any of the plaintiffs on account of their seeking or having obtained a religious exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination,” Hurd said.
The ruling also found that the New York State Department of Health cannot discipline workers seeking or obtaining religious exemptions, including taking action against their licensure.
The preliminary injunction was granted as a temporary measure to allow the 17 plaintiffs to continue to argue their cases, reported CNN.
The legal fight may not be over, however.
Hurd noted in his ruling that “because the issues in dispute are of exceptional importance to the health and the religious freedoms of our citizens, an appeal may very well be appropriate.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul is resolute in her stance on the vaccine mandate.
“My responsibility as Governor is to protect the people of this state, and requiring health care workers to get vaccinated accomplishes that. I stand behind this mandate, and I will fight this decision in court to keep New Yorkers safe.”
On the same day, a federal judge in Manhattan declined to block enforcement of the vaccine mandate in the case of 10 teachers. At least one of those teachers had been denied a religious exemption, reported ABC7.
The judge, in that case, faulted the teachers for waiting to bring their request for an injunction until after the mandate was already in effect and called it “gamesmanship.”