ALBANY – A new bill was introduced to the New York State Assembly which would empower the health department to mandate the COVID-19 vaccination.
As mentioned in the bill, “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 grounds of individuals who, as shown by clinical data, are proven to be safe to receive such vaccine.”
The vaccine must be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and the New York State clinical advisory task force before it can be distributed. Certain individuals who have medical exemptions will not be mandated to receive the vaccine.
The bill. “Assembly Bill A11179,” as its designated, is sitting in committee, according to the Assembly’s bill tracker.
Before it can become law it must pass the Assembly, and the New York State Senate, and obtain the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Here is the Bill:
December 4, 2020
Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES — (at request of M. of A. L. Rosenthal) — read once and referred to the Committee on Health
AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to administering a COVID-19 vaccine
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Article 21 of the public health law is amended by adding a new title 8 to read as follows:
TITLE 8 COVID-19
Section 2178. COVID-19 vaccination.
§ 2178. COVID-19 vaccination.
1. At the time a vaccination for COVID-19 is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research vaccine product approval process and the New York state clinical advisory task force, such vaccination shall be required to be safely and effectively distributed in accordance with the department’s COVID-19 vaccination administration program.
2. Once the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and the New York state clinical advisory task force have approved the safety and effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccination and promotion and distribution plans of such vaccine have begun pursuant to the department’s COVID-19 vaccination administration program, 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.
3. Any individual who has received a medical exemption from a licensed medical professional shall not be mandated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and shall be excluded from the requirements of this section.
26 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
What is not expressed in the bill, is the penalty for non-compliance or what measures the state will use to enforce a person getting a vaccine. Will they be arrested and forcibly vaccinated? Will they be merely fined or imprisoned if they do not pay the fine? Will they be denied the right to appear in certain venues?
How will the non-vaccinated by identified and will they be randomly selected?
The bill also doesn’t define “sufficient immunity.”
The sponsor of the bill, NYS Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, who represents parts of Manhattan’s West Side, told FOX 5 NY that if less than 70% of the population voluntarily gets vaccinated then the mandate should take effect.
“Then the state Department of Health would have the ability to say that more people have to get it,” Rosenthal said in an interview with Fox 5. “And they would set the rules and they would set the structure.”
According to the CDC, “Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination—that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease.”
Politico reported that “Roughly 60 percent of U.S. residents would be willing to get a coronavirus shot, according to a Gallup poll released in November — up from 50 percent in September.”
The law firm of Tully Rinckey PLLC, posed a few more questions in an email to this publication:
- What constitutes a medical exemption?
- Who will monitor every individual to ensure that they received the vaccine?
Some argue that governments will never force someone to be vaccinated, “since it is a foundational principle of medical ethics that consent must be given for any procedure. The decision to make vaccination mandatory is therefore a decision to impose some form of penalty on those who do not follow the law.”
The New York mandatory vaccination bill however does not specifically state how the mandatory vaccine will be enforced.
The argument against mandatory vaccinations has been articulated by libertarians and writers on the subject of freedom principles, such as Robert Murphy, of the Independent Institute.
“Mandatory vaccinations involve a supreme violation of liberty, where agents of the state inject substances into someone’s body against his or her will,” Murphy writes, “…. Yet, the debate tilts even more when we recall that throughout history, government officials have made horrible decisions in the name of public welfare, either through incompetence or ulterior motives. It should be obvious that no fan of liberty can support injecting substances into an innocent person’s body against his or her will.”