ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A federal judge in Utica has dealt a blow to New York State’s health care worker vaccine mandate. He’s granted the plaintiffs, who sought a religious exemption, a preliminary injunction. 

Last month, a group of Christian medical professionals filed a complaint calling for a religious exemption to the rule. 

Federal Judge David Hurd placed a temporary restraining order on the mandate and said he would issue a decision by Tuesday. Hurd ultimately granted a preliminary injunction, ruling, “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.”

In a statement, Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “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.”

The deadline for health care workers to receive at least their first vaccine dose was September 27. Home care and hospice workers had a vaccination deadline of October 7. In some cases, the mandates have exacerbated staffing issues, though they reportedly did succeed in increasing vaccination rates overall.

“When we talk in the big picture about vaccination, we talk about it in a way that is important for really, for all society if we’re going to try to get ahead of this, but at the same time if it’s carried out in a manner that actually compromises services, then I think that needs a different kind of look,” said Al Cardillo, Home Care Association of New York State President & CEO.