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Hochul confident there will be no religious exemption for COVID-19 vaccine in New York

Governor Kathy Hochul is making her opinion be known about the fight against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate New York State instituted last week for healthcare workers. The deadline came-and-went with some hospitals and facilities reporting the loss of valuable employees and manpower.

However, some were allowed to remain as the courts reconsider the lack of religious exemption in the mandate. The state did not provide a religious exemption, and Governor Hochul has been among those in state government arguing that no religion has advocated against vaccination.

Two different judges have issued temporary orders preventing the state from enforcing the vaccine mandate on those who have claimed a religious exemption. One of those expires October 12. The other expires on October 14.

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“Now you’ll see by the end of the week, it’ll be 100-percent [of healthcare workers vaccinated]. We’re about 92-94 right now. We’re watching that close, so people are realizing that we’re coming up on a deadline, especially those who thought they were going to get a religious exemption. I do not believe it’ll be upheld in court,” Hochul confidently said on Sunday.

Cassandra Kazukenus, Senior Attorney with Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP tells 13WHAM that this could be similar to the ruling that was made in 2019 when the religious exemption was ended for school children during a measles outbreak. “In that case, the court upheld that the removal of the religious exemption was not unconstitutional. Mostly, it passed a rational basis test,” she explained.

It’s unclear if a ruling will come by the end of the week on the matter, or what prompted Hochul’s confidence on the matter.



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