A Manhattan lawmaker is proposing making a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all residents in New York if initial doses of the shot fail to establish sufficient herd immunity.
The bill was proposed by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal of New York’s 67th District, and is currently referred to as ‘A11179’.
Published on the New York State Senate website, if signed into law, the bill ‘requires a COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in accordance with the department of health’s COVID-19 vaccination administration program and mandates vaccination in certain situations.’
The legislation does not propose an automatic requirement for vaccination once available, rather the mandate will be based on the initial response to it.
‘If public health officials determine that residents of the state are not developing sufficient immunity from COVID-19, the department shall mandate vaccination for all individuals or groups of individuals who, as shown by clinical data, are proven to be safe to receive such vaccine,’ the legislation states.
The bill was proposed by Assembly member Linda Rosenthal of New York’s 67th District, and is currently referred to as ‘A11179’
The bill, shown above, mandates COVID-19 vaccination ‘in certain situations’
The bill goes on to add that anyone who is exempted by a licensed medical professional will not be required to receive the vaccine.
Since being introduced on December 4, the bill has been referred to a committee for further examination.
Rosenthal has not yet returned a DailyMail.com request for comment.
However, in an interview with WGRZ, the assemblywoman insisted the vaccination mandate is a ‘protective health measure’.
‘It’s to ensure that our residents are safe and protected against further spread,’ she explained, adding, ‘the concept of herd immunity is very important, and not everyone will have to get the vaccination if a certain threshold of the population has gotten it.’
Rosenthal also indicated that the threshold would have to be set at around 75 to 80 percent and said she believes there will be enough people willing to take the vaccine to reach those numbers.
‘However, there is the possibility that we don’t and in that event to protect the public health, the department of health of the state can then say that we need people to get the vaccination,’ Rosenthal said.
When quizzed on the concerns of residents who are opposed to the idea of the state forcing them to get vaccinated, Rosenthal said: ‘This is a matter that will be decided based on science and best practices and not on people’s blow back. That’s why the power resides with the state department of health.’
Rosenthal also sought to issue assurances to those who believe a vaccine mandate would violate their constitutional rights and individual liberties.
‘The state is not frivolously doing this,’ She said. ‘The state has a task force to review the vaccines. It’s only at the point where there’s a lack of herd immunity which protects every single resident of New York State that the department of health would step in.’
She also reiterated that the bill ensures those who are deemed unable to take the vaccine by a doctor will not be required to.
The legislation does not propose an automatic requirement for vaccination once available, rather the mandate will be based on the initial response to it (pictured: Dr. Matilde Castiel receives an injection in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine, in Massachusetts, Sept. 4)
Once the US epicenter of the coronavirus, New York state has recorded 733,000 cases of COVID-19 since March
The state has also recorded more than 27,800 deaths
Rosenthal’s bill has already drummed up a great deal of opposition among lawmakers in the state.
New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro called her proposal ‘very dangerous’.
DiPietro claimed his phone has been ‘blowing up’ with calls from angered constituents who inform him they’re strongly opposed to making a vaccine mandatory in any capacity.
‘Taking the vaccine should be your choice,’ DiPietro insisted. ‘That’s your right and that’s your privilege as an American citizen to not be forced to take a vaccination.
‘I find it ironic that so many of these people who are pro choice and say, “my body my choice”… but when it comes a vaccine now it’s my body. But it’s not my choice.’ he continued.
‘The hypocrisy just drips off the wall with some of these people.’
State Senator Pat Gallivan voiced his disbelief that a bill like Rosenthal’s was even proposed in the first place.
‘I shudder when somebody suggests that,’ Gallivan told WREN. ‘To think that we live in America and government would make it mandatory to inject something into your body, and then try to make an argument that it’s okay for government to be doing that.’
When asked if mandating a COVID vaccination in certain situations, such as to attend public school, would be an effective health policy, Gallivan argued that it wouldn’t be.
‘I’m not okay with government mandating that something is injected into the body of one of its citizens,’ he said. ‘There’s no question a vaccine is needed; there’s no question that we are looking towards light at the end of the tunnel when the vaccine is made available to everybody, and certainly, I would encourage people to take the vaccine.’
New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro (above) called Rosenthal’s proposal ‘very dangerous’
Rosenthal’s bill states that anyone who is exempted by a licensed medical professional will not be required to receive the vaccine
Rosenthal’s bill states that anyone who is exempted by a licensed medical professional will not be required to receive the vaccine (Pictured: Commuters wear face masks as they walk through the World Trade Center’s transportation hub, Nov. 17)
Democrat State Assemblyman Pat Burke, meanwhile, said he doesn’t believe the bill has any chance of being passed.
‘I saw it reported somewhere that the New York State Assembly is looking to mandate the COVID vaccine, and I was like, “wow, that is jumping to major conclusions,”‘ he said
‘I don’t think it’s a good idea,’ Burke continued. ‘I think it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to mandate something like this – there’s no way to enforce it.’
Burke added that he believes mandatory vaccinations in schools is not something that ‘needs to be pushed right now because the data doesn’t support it’.
‘I don’t think the school vaccine would be the most effective use because even in K-8 schools, we’re seeing the virus contained in those situations,’ he said.
‘All of the other [vaccine mandate] ideas probably just wouldn’t be that effective. I think the most effective strategy right now is to make sure that we have enough of the vaccine, make sure that it’s gone through every safety protocol, and then make it widely available.’
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, said that while she hasn’t read the full contents of Rosenthal’s bill, the Democrat told WGRZ-TV she’s not currently inclined to support it.
A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when asked if he would sign such a measure, referred to comments the Governor made last week when he stated that ‘you cannot force someone to take a vaccine’.
Cuomo said last week that New York state could receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine as early as December 15, pending safety and efficacy approval.
Officials say the initial delivery will be about 170,000 doses, with priority given to nursing home residents and staff first, and then patients and staff at hospital ICU units and COVID wings.
But mandating a vaccine wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented.
State Senator Pat Gallivan voiced his disbelief that a bill like Rosenthal’s was even proposed in the first place
The state could mandate than an individual be vaccinated as a ‘condition’ of other factors, such as enrolling your child in school, which New York has been doing for several years.
Equally, courts have upheld the states’ ability to make certain aspects of life dependent of have received a vaccine, in some instances.
Just last year, amid a measles outbreak, the state stripped certain groups of their ability to opt out of vaccines on religious grounds if they wanted to enroll their children in school.
Similarly, DailyMail.com previously reported that US employers can legally require their workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19, however employment lawyers predict most will make the vaccine optional.
Employers generally have legal authority to require staff to get vaccinated against the virus, though there are some exceptions.
And conversely, workers have the right to object to mandatory vaccinations under anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which allows employees to be exempt if it goes against a ‘sincerely held religious belief’.
Likewise, those with medical disabilities can request an exemption under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
While discussions over Rosenthal’s bill continue, DiPietro told WGRZ-TV that he’s drafting his own legislation that would prohibit mandating a COVID vaccine.
‘It would make it strictly a matter of choice,’ he said of the prospective law. ‘In other words, take the vaccine if you want, but it’s your choice. And if you don’t, you can’t lose any of your civil liberties… they wouldn’t be able to keep your kids out of school, or keep you from flying or traveling, or keep you from your job.’
Once the US epicenter of the coronavirus, New York state has recorded 733,000 cases of COVID-19 since March and reported 27,834 deaths.