Coronavirus Update NYC: Showdown looms over vaccine mandates for teachers, health workers

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, September 27, 2021
Showdown looms over vaccine mandates for teachers, healthcare workers
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Two major showdowns loom over COVID vaccine mandates in New York as the Monday deadline closes in.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Two major showdowns loom over COVID vaccine mandates in New York as the Monday deadline closes in.

Monday marks a big deadline in the fight against COVID. In New York City, teachers must have at least one shot.

In New York State, health care workers must have at least one shot. But before anyone is fired or sent home, the courts have put both mandates on hold until further legal review.

Northwell Health, the largest employer of health care workers in New York State with over 74,000 employees, released a statement saying,

"Northwell joined other health systems and organizations across the country in taking reasonable steps to ensure our staff are protected and available to care for the patients and communities we serve. We are proud that almost 91 percent of our workforce has been vaccinated against COVID-19."

Unvaccinated team members have been notified about the need to receive at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, Sept. 27 or be subject to adverse action, up to and including termination.

"Natural order, you're born. You live. You die. I don't do anything to disrupt that. I live a good clean life," ER nurse Julie Tresco said.

Tresco is an emergency room nurse in the Hudson Valley area. She has not and will not get the COVID vaccine. Because of that, she knows she could lose her job.

"I just believe I have a good immune system that was created to defend what it needs to defend," she said.

Despite seeing COVID patients on a daily basis, Tresco says she has never gotten sick.

RELATED | When to expect decision on COVID-19 vaccine boosters

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the use of Pfizer booster shots for a wider group of Americans today.

However, on Monday morning, the state wants every health care worker in New York to have received at least one COVID shot.

Tresco is hoping to get a religious exemption to the rule. Her case to be reviewed on October 12.

"I fail to see how I'm a danger to anybody by not being vaccinated," she said.

In the city, all public school teachers and employees are supposed to be vaccinated with at least one shot by Monday as well.

However, the court granted a temporary injunction, which means the city can't enforce the rule until a three-judge panel decides whether such a city mandate is constitutional.

A federal appeals court has temporarily delayed the New York City from implementing its COVID vaccine requirement for public school employees.

"Being forced to put this vaccine into your body is a violation of the constitution," attorney Louis Gelormino said.

"It should be a choice," Tresco said. "If there's any risk at all, it should always be a choice."

So, for health care workers, they have the right to apply for a religious exemption.

In the city, teachers who don't want the vaccine are hoping their legal appeal will rule in their favor. We'll see how the courts rule.

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