Debate over whether COVID-19 vaccines should be required continues

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As we inch closer to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, there’s been debate over whether or not getting a vaccination should be a requirement.

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal has introduced a bill regarding possible COVID-19 vaccination requirements. It would first require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the state’s own clinical advisory task force to approve vaccines and declare them safe. 

“It is only if we do not reach herd immunity would we give the NYS Department of Health the authority to go and regulate it and see who needs to get it, but that’s a long way off,” Rosenthal said.

Under the bill, New Yorkers who have medical exemptions from licensed medical professionals would not be mandated to get the vaccine. 

Attorney and founding partner of Tully Rinckey, Greg Rinckey, believes the bill would pass muster under a court’s review.

“I think the bill would be legal if it passed. I mean New York State is at its highest ability to impose legislation when it deals with the public health. Right, and we’re dealing here with a vaccine; we’re dealing with a pandemic,” Rinckey said.

Last year, the state repealed the religious exemption for vaccine requirements for kids in school after a measles outbreak.  

“There are a number of mandates for vaccines that are already in state law. Most of them deal with vaccines that children have to receive right before they are able to enter school,” said New York State Bar Association member Hermes Fernandez.

Meanwhile, there’s also legislation introduced by Republican Assemblymember John Salka that prohibits a mandatory immunization against the coronavirus.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine coming to New York are expected to arrive next Tuesday.


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