New Yorkers May Be Forced to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
A proposed bill would make a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in New York State.
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) introduced a bill in the New York State Assembly that would require all New Yorkers, who aren't medical exempt, to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
"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 bill states.
The bill doesn't state how many Empire State residents must get the vaccine for "sufficient immunity."
"It's a protective health measure," Rosenthal told NBC. "It's to ensure that our residents are safe and protected against further spread. 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. 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 told NBC 75 percent to 80 percent is enough for "sufficient immunity." However, she told Fox the mandate should go into effect if less than 70 percent of New Yorkers get vaccinated.
ABC obtained the following statement from Rosenthal about her bill:
“I introduced this legislation because like all of us, I have seen too many families ravaged by COVID-19. I have lost loved ones and friends and have seen too many people become sick and die from a disease that has wreaked havoc on every aspect of our lives for nearly a year. Now, as we get closer to the day when a lifesaving vaccine will finally be widely available to the American public, I am hearing a concerning uptick in dangerous anti-science, anti-vax rhetoric that has the potential to endanger our health, damage our economy and delay our return to normalcy.
“If enough science deniers opt out of the voluntary vaccine process, we will not achieve the necessary level of community immunity, which will undermine the efficacy of our vaccination efforts statewide. Obviously, our hope is that with robust education and outreach, the vast majority of New Yorkers will volunteer to get vaccinated. If not, my new legislation will ensure that we achieve a safe level of community protection. Herd immunity won’t protect everyone, but if a high enough percentage of the population gets vaccinated, then the likelihood of community spread is low enough to enable a return to normal life, for students, parents, small businesses – everyone, who has been struggling to stay afloat financially and emotionally for the last nine months. Our heroic medical professionals and support staff have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for too long. Achieving herd immunity will help lift the inordinate burden under which they have been toiling."
If the bill is passed, the bill states doctors could exempt certain patients from having to get vaccinated.