October 16, 2009 / 9:14 PM / 8 years ago

New York judge blocks mandated swine flu shots

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York state judge on Friday blocked enforcement of a requirement that all state healthcare workers be vaccinated for the seasonal and the swine influenza, according to a New York Times web site.

The temporary restraining order by Justice Thomas McNamara, an acting judge on the State Supreme Court in Albany, New York, came in response to a lawsuit filed by three nurses who argued the mandatory directive violated their civil rights, the Times said.

The directive, issued August 13 by state Health Commissioner Richard Daines, said healthcare workers must be vaccinated by November 30 or face fines.

New York Department of Health officials said they would fight the judge’s restraining order, the Times said.

The judge scheduled a hearing for October 30 on the lawsuit and two other cases challenging the mandatory vaccinations, one filed by the New York State Public Employees Federation and the other by the New York State United Teachers Union.

Calls to the judge’s chambers in Albany were unanswered.

The state Health Commissioner has argued the mandatory regulation is the only way to get full participation of all healthcare workers and protect the public health. Opponents have argued workers should not be required to be vaccinated.

The new vaccine has raised questions as to how well it has been tested, whether it can cause the flu and whether it has any side effects.

Only about 40 percent of U.S. healthcare workers get vaccinated against seasonal influenza.

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