NYSBA in the News: Expertise Sought As COVID-19 Vaccine Becomes a Reality

By Brendan Kennedy

NYSBA_in_the_News

Once the New York State Bar Association House of Delegates approved a resolution on Nov. 7 outlining conditions for requiring a COVID-19 vaccine for all New Yorkers, save those exempted by doctors, the legal, local and national news began citing NYSBA’s Health Law Section report.

The report also recommends that the state consider mandating a vaccine once a scientific consensus emerges that it is safe, effective and necessary. But before taking this significant step, the state government should conduct a public awareness campaign to urge voluntary vaccination.

Over the weekend, the New York Times and The Today Show mentioned the New York State Bar Association in articles on the topic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and answered some basic questions about when Americans can be required to get vaccinated.

Recently, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, introduced a bill that, if passed and signed into law, would lead to a coronavirus vaccination mandate, New York State Bar Association President Scott M. Karson was quoted in a New York Law Journal article detailing Rosenthal’s proposed bill.

“It is welcome news that our federal government is so close to approving a COVID-19 vaccine, But no vaccine can end this deadly pandemic if we do not all do our parts to protect ourselves and our fellow New Yorkers. Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, we hope all New Yorkers will take it voluntarily, but should it become necessary to mandate the vaccine for some or all the state’s residents, the legal right of the state to do so is well-established. That is why the New York State Bar Association supports Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal’s bill to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine if too few residents are vaccinated. We thank Assemblymember Rosenthal for her work on this important issue.”

Health Law Section COVID-19 Task Force chair Mary Beth Morrisey was also quoted in the Law Journal article.

“It may become necessary to require that certain individuals or communities be vaccinated, such as health care workers and students, to protect the public’s health. Rosenthal’s bill “aligns” with the specifics of the bar association’s passed resolution in November on the vaccine, and also said that “the immediate issue with the vaccine rollout is going to be equitable access to the vaccine.” Morrissey suggested that the legislature should consider adding language about educating the public about the safety, efficacy and public health need for the vaccine.

In the most recent episode of WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, the NYSBA Health Law Section report was cited.

Explaining why NYSBA wants mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations considered, President Karson wrote an op-ed for Bloomberg Law, noting the moral imperative society has to collectively protect the most vulnerable.

In his most recent audio commentary for WAMC, Albany’s NPR affiliate, President Karson spoke about how the Health Law Section report seeks to strike a balance between the government’s responsibility to protect the majority of its citizens while safeguarding personal freedoms clearly dictated in the Constitution.

 

 

As stories from Newsweek, New York Post and Yahoo! News reported that over half of New York City firefighters would refuse a vaccine, Health Law Section COVID-19 Task Force chair Mary Beth Morrisey was quoted.

“It may become necessary to require that certain individuals or communities be vaccinated, such as health care workers and students, to protect the public’s health,”

In the Capital Region, Hermes Fernandez, past chair of the Health Law Section spoke to WTEN about vaccines and some of the mandates that are already state law.

Six diverse people sitting holding signs
gradient circle (purple) gradient circle (green)

Join NYSBA

My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account