The New York State Department of Health said it will repeal the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all workers at regulated health care facilities, which was imposed by the state.
In a statement posted to the agency’s website, the Department of Health announced it had begun the process of repealing the coronavirus vaccine requirement for health care workers because of the changing landscape of the pandemic and the evolving vaccine recommendations.
“Throughout the public health emergency, this vaccine requirement served as a critical public health tool, helping to protect both health care workers and the patients under their care,” the statement read. “As the repeal of this regulation awaits consideration for approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC), the Department will not commence any new enforcement actions.”
A nurse prepares a COVID-19 booster shot. (Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)
The department added that health care facilities should continue to impose their own policies internally, regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
NY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ‘EXPLORING OPTIONS’ AFTER JUDGE STRIKES DOWN COVID VACCINE MANDATE FOR HEALTH WORKERS
In January, a New York Supreme Court judge struck down a mandate requiring all health care workers in the state to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
A lawsuit had been brought by Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, which included health care employees who stood to or had already lost their jobs over the requirement.
A nurse prepares to administer a COVID vaccine. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo)
In his ruling, Judge Gerard Neri said Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State Department of Health exceeded their authority by imposing such a mandate.
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Neri explained that the mandate was “null, void, and of no effect” because the state could not require health care workers to get vaccinations that were not required by public health law, which includes hepatitis, measles and mumps.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Gerard J. Neri wrote that the state Health Department, Gov. Kathy Hochul and former Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett overstepped their authority by making the COVID-19 vaccine mandate permanent for health care workers. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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Although the Department of Health said it “strongly” disagreed with Neri’s ruling, the agency said it was exploring its options, adding that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate protected the most at-risk patients and those who care for them.
An estimated 34,000 health care workers in New York lost their jobs as a result of the state’s mandate, worsening a health care staffing crisis at a critical time.
Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.
Greg Wehner is a breaking news reporter for Fox News Digital.