No vax mandate for NYS court workers until second shot approved

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first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA in Los Angeles, California on August 7, 2021

New York state court workers won’t be forced to get vaccinated at least until the FDA formally approves a second COVID-19 jab, officials said Monday.

The development came as the federal Food and Drug Administration fully formally approved Pfizer’s two-dose coronavirus immunization Monday. The shot had previously only been granted “emergency” approval amid the pandemic.

Of the other two COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for emergency use in the US, Moderna’s double-dose version appears to still be weeks away from final approval, according to the New York Times.

The Johnson & Johnson shot, which offers a single-dose jab, has yet to apply for final approval.

New York Chief Justice Janet DiFiore said Monday that she intends to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all state court workers now that Pfizer’s jab was formally approved, although a courts rep later clarified that this would only be after a second shot was OK’d, for practical reasons, such as supply.

first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA in Los Angeles, California on August 7, 2021
The Food and Drug Administration fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

“Many public and private employers have announced their intention to mandate the vaccination of their workforces, and now, after much discussion and deliberation, we intend to do the same,” DiFiore said in a statement.

Office of Court Administration spokesman Lucian Chalfen said the planned mandate would be for employees such as judges and other court staff, rather than court visitors.

Either way, starting Sept. 7, court employees who haven’t been vaccinated must get weekly testing, DiFiore said. Those who have gotten the jab will have to prove they have been and will then be given an orange ID card to enter the courts.

A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine
New York state court workers won’t have a vaccine mandate until the FDA formally approves a second COVID-19 shot.
REUTERS/Yuki Iwamura/File Photo

In public areas of the courts, everyone has to wear masks. Judges and staff who have orange vaccination cards don’t have to wear masks in non-public or back offices in the court houses, Chalfen said.

“The only exceptions are for employees and judges — who have their proof of vaccination card — in non-public and back office areas of buildings,” he said.

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