Mandatory vaccination put on hold in NY… for now

By: October 16th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Thomas J. McNamara, an acting justice of the State Supreme Court in Albany, issued a temporary restraining order on a New York State requirement forcing most healthcare workers to get the seasonal flu shot as well as the H1N1 shot, further igniting the already heated debate.

A hearing for the case is scheduled for October 30, according to the New York Times.

The case was brought to court by Terence L. Kindlon, representing three nurses, Lorna Patterson, Kathryn Dupuis, and Stephanie Goertz, who work in ER for the Albany Medical Center (previously reported here). Justice McNamara consolidated the suit with two separate lawsuits from the New York State Public Employees Federation and New York State United Teachers.

Just yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Diamond in Manhattan refused to issue a temporary restraining order on a lawsuit brought by attorney Patricia Finn, on behalf of registered nurse Suzanne Field from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but agreed to schedule a hearing on the vaccine mandate for October 22. Finn told the Times her hearing would proceed as scheduled next Thursday, but was “thrilled” about today’s outcome.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about it,” Finn told the Times. “I’m very pleased that the whole process has been slowed down, that’s what we’re so concerned about, the process of vaccinating, it’s not like getting your teeth cleaned, it’s pretty serious. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, so we were happy about this.”


Those of us who are vaccinated are protecting the individuals who refuse to be vaccinated. This is called herd immunity. The only reason we no longer need to be fearful of terrible diseases like polio is because of the vaccination program. Vaccines have saved more lives than caused harm. That is not to say that vaccination is totally risk free. However, when one weighs the risks vs the benefits, vaccination makes sense. Individuals who have a true contraindication such as an acute allergic reaction etc, should not be vaccinated, However, simply deciding that one does not want the vaccine is not reason enough to allow everyone else to take the risk. It is a shared benefit and it should be a shared risk. With international travel we need to vaccinate now more than ever. As healthcare workers, we have a responsibility to our patients to not expose them to preventable infectious diseases.

By Debbie Clark RRT, MPH on October 20th, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Lyn Jacobs, well said!

By Janet DiNottia on October 21st, 2009 at 10:05 am

I understand the concerned for those in the health field. Yet, this vaccine has been rushed into production. The vaccine has been noted with components that are a concern and have preservatives that have been banned in vaccines for children. We need to read and be concerned about this. It is my right to choose. I do not feel the government should be mandating this. Especially with the vaccine production being rushed as it has been.


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