Mandatory coronavirus vaccination bill introduced in New York State Assembly
12/28/2020 // Ramon Tomey // Views

A New York lawmaker has introduced a bill making vaccinations against the Wuhan coronavirus mandatory. Democrat State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal introduced the bill Dec. 4, which is currently being reviewed by an assembly committee as of writing. Rosenthal's proposed bill mandates vaccination "for all individuals who … are proven to be safe to receive a vaccine [for COVID-19]" if public health officials determine that New Yorkers "are not developing sufficient herd immunity."

Rosenthal's Assembly Bill A11179 states that a vaccine approved by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and the state's clinical advisory task force "shall be required to be safely and effectively distributed in accordance with the [New York State Department of Health] COVID-19 vaccination program."

The bill's support memo outlined: "While steps have been taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, epidemiologists and public health experts have concluded that a vaccine will be necessary to develop herd immunity and ultimately stop the spread of the disease." It also remarked that the state "must make efforts to promote vaccination and ensure that a high enough percentage of the population is vaccinated … to develop sufficient immunity."

Rosenthal's proposed bill does not define "sufficient immunity," which leaves the definition to public health officials.

In an interview with FOX 5 NY, the legislator remarked that the compulsory vaccination mandate should take effect if less than 70 percent of the population voluntarily gets immunized. She said that with the mandate, "the State Department of Health would have the ability to say that more people have to get [the vaccine]. And they would set the rules … and the structure."


The bill also provides for exemption: Anyone who has "received a medical exemption from a licensed medical professional" will be excluded from the forced vaccination mandate. (Related: New York families band together to sue state for eliminating religious exemptions for vaccinations.)

Nursing homes are always the testing ground for New York state's public health mandates

The proposed mandatory immunization bill comes amid Wuhan coronavirus vaccine candidates proving effective in clinical trials. Candidates by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have registered more than 90 percent efficacy rates, while AstraZeneca's experimental jab registered a 70 percent efficacy rate with two full doses. The U.K. recently approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine BNT162b2 for domestic vaccination.

In line with this, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Dec. 2 that the state will receive COVID-19 vaccine doses sufficient for 170,000 people by the middle of the month. This initial batch from Pfizer will be distributed to nursing homes, with residents and staff members to be immunized first.

Cuomo said during a coronavirus news conference that subsequent shipments of vaccine doses will bolster the state's vaccination efforts. "You need [doses good for] 210,000. In two weeks, we are supposed to get a Moderna shipment which would be at least 40,000 – so between the 170,000 and the Moderna [doses], we would cover the entire nursing home [population]. And then there's another shipment of Pfizer [vaccines] coming, so it's on a rolling basis."

Interestingly, Cuomo was also responsible for ordering nursing homes and long-term care facilities to accept COVID-19 patients through a March 25 mandate. The Associated Press reported that more than 4,500 patients were shipped off to nursing homes around the state. Cuomo eventually scrapped the mandate in May, but not before causing more than 6,400 deaths. (Related: New York nursing homes now a "slaughterhouse" for elderly coronavirus patients.)

The mandate drew criticism from various people and even merited a Congressional investigation. In response, Cuomo claimed that infected care home workers were the ones to blame for the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes – which he called "fire through dry grass." He also rejected calls for an independent investigation of his mandate, claiming these were "politically motivated."

The mandatory vaccination law follows the U.S. remaining as the country with the most number of COVID-19 cases. Johns Hopkins University data shows that the U.S. has a 15.6 million COVID-19 caseload with 5.9 million recoveries and 292,179 deaths.

Follow to find out the latest about vaccines against the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Sources include: 1 2

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