Federal appeals court blocks NYC teacher vaccine mandate

A federal appeals court blocked New York City’s coronavirus vaccine mandate late Friday evening, dealing a blow to the city days before the mandate goes into effect. 

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals granted an expedited injunction on Friday blocking the city from mandating that all public school employees submit proof of their first coronavirus vaccine dose by Monday.

The court referred the case to a three-judge panel on an expedited basis.

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New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNYC firefighters union leader tells unvaccinated members to defy mandate Jumaane Williams makes run for New York governor official Judge says NYC public employee vaccine mandate can take effect MORE (D) said in late August that all of the city’s public school teachers and staff would need to have their first dose by Sept. 27. There was no alternative option for regular testing.

A group of New York City public school employees sued earlier this month to block the mandate, arguing that their rights to due process and equal protection were violated. The complaint specifically alleged that the order violated their right to pursue their profession. 

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan upheld the mandate, prompting the plaintiffs to quickly appeal the decision. 

About 82 percent of the city’s roughly 149,000 public school employees are vaccinated, the agency told The Hill, including 88 percent of roughly 78,000 teachers and 95 percent of roughly 1,600 principals.

Danielle Filson, press secretary for the New York City Department of Education [DOE], said in a statement to The Hill that the agency is “confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve.”

“Over 82 percent of DOE employees have been vaccinated and we continue to urge all employees to get their shot by September 27,” Filson said.