New York Bar Association rejects religious, philosophical, or personal reason COVID-19 vaccination exemptions
The New York State Bar Association passed a resolution urging the state to consider enforcing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, even if people object for “religious, philosophical or personal reasons.”
Mary Beth Morrissey, chair of the New York Bar association’s Health Law Section’s Task Force on COVID-19, said in a statement on November 7, 2020, “The authority of the state to respond to a public health crisis is well-established in constitutional law.”
“In balancing the protection of the public’s health and civil liberties, the Public Health Law recognizes that a person’s health can and does affect others.”
“It may become necessary to require that certain individuals or communities be vaccinated, such as healthcare workers and students, to protect the public’s health,” added Morrissey, a research fellow at Fordham University’s Global Health Care Innovation Management Center and a faculty member in the graduate schools.
Specifically, the New York State Bar Association recommends: ‘To protect the public’s health, it would be useful to provide guidance, consistent with existing law or a state emergency health powers act as proposed in Resolution #1, to assist state officials and state and local public health authorities should it be necessary for the state to consider the possibility of enacting a vaccine mandate.’
‘A vaccine must not only be safe and efficacious; it must be publicly perceived as safe and efficacious.’
All 50 states have legislation requiring specified vaccines for students. Although exemptions vary from state to state, all school immunization laws grant exemptions to children for medical reasons, states the National Conference of State Legislatures website, as of June 16, 2020.
Moreover, there are 45 states and Washington D.C. that grant religious exemptions for people who have religious objections to immunizations.
Currently, 15 states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral, or other beliefs.
New York’s recommendation contrasts with the U.S. FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommendation on October 22, 2020, which opposes mandatory vaccination policy since the initial COVID-19 vaccines are considered ‘experimental’ without proven vaccine efficacy.
Furthermore, this FDA committee raised specific concerns regarding pediatric vaccinations with unproven COVID-19 vaccines, for a population generally unaffected by this new disease.
Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement on October 6, 2020: “Being open and clear about the circumstances under which the issuance of an emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine would be appropriate is critical to building public confidence and ensuring the use of COVID-19 vaccines once available.”
“The FDA’s new guidance on emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines underscores that commitment by further outlining the process and recommended scientific data and information that would support an emergency use authorization decision.”
Previously, on November 1, 2020, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James criticized the federal government’s plan to distribute the vaccine through pharmacies.
To expand the national reach of the US government’s COVID-19 vaccination delivery plan, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on November 6, 2020, they are including the Good Neighbor Pharmacy and Elevate Provider Network members in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Strategy for COVID-19 Vaccination.
Previously the CVS and Walgreens pharmacy chains were identified as COVID-19 vaccine partners.
An updated list of experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates pending FDA authorization is published by CoronavirusToday on this webpage.
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based vaccine news.