What constitutes a religious exemption?

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A temporary restraining order has been put on New York State’s health care worker vaccine mandate until October 12th.  And the Attorney General’s Office has until 5PM today to submit its opposition papers. 

Earlier this month a group of health care professionals filed a lawsuit against state officials over the requirement that health care workers in the state be vaccinated against COVID-19. The plaintiffs want a religious exemption. Tully Rinckey Employment Attorney Melanie Franco says when it comes to religious exemptions, a moral or philosophical objection is not enough.

“It has to be that sincere belief. You don’t often have to prove it using documents or anything like that although using your religious scripture is always helpful,” Franco said.

Opponents have said the mandate will cause more people to leave the health care field. Today people who oppose vaccine mandates took to the State Capitol grounds.

Public Employee Federation President Wayne Spence says Governor Kathy Hochul is “not to blame” for the staffing crisis and people leaving the industry.In a statement he said, “Nurses employed by the State of New York have not seen an increase to their starting salary grade in 30 years, since 1981. The vaccine mandate is just the final straw for some of them. Is it any wonder that some of them are choosing to resign?”

September 27th is the date that healthcare workers are supposed to have their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by. But, due to the temporary restraining order, the Department of Health can’t enforce it right now. 

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