New York State health care workers will no longer have a religious exemption to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate after a federal appeals court vacated a temporary injunction Friday.
CNN reports the three-judge panel in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit also sent the two court cases back to the lower courts to continue.
The ongoing court cases stem from former Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s order that all hospital and long-term care facility workers were required to get at least one dose of the vaccine by September 27th.
An attorney for plaintiffs in one of the cases vowed to take the case to the US Supreme Court Friday.
In the second case, 17 health care workers, many of them unnamed doctors, residents and nurses, filed a lawsuit in September objecting to the New York State Department of Health‘s vaccine mandate, which didn’t allow for religious exemptions. A judge issued a temporary restraining order on September 14th related to the religious exemptions.
Governor Kathy Hochul praised the court’s decision in a statement, saying “I commend the Second Circuit’s findings affirming our first-in-the-nation vaccine mandate, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe.”
The State Health Department confirmed to CNN that nearly 16,000 health care employees in New York State had been granted religious exemptions by their employers prior to Friday’s court ruling.