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NYS Bar Association recommends making vaccines mandatory once available

Report calls on Health Department to adopt standards for allocation of ventilators and PPE

May 29, 2020 Rob Abruzzese

A successful vaccine for COVID-19 may still be many months away, but once it’s ready the New York State Bar Association says it should be made mandatory for New Yorkers, with exemptions made by doctors.

The Bar Association also called upon the Department of Health to adopt uniform standards for the allocation of ventilators and other personal protective equipment.

“The current pandemic shows us how unsafe we all are when we face a virulent contagious disease without a safe and effective vaccine, widely administered,” said Hermes Fernandez, chair of the NYSBA’s Health Law Section and attorney at Bond, Schoeneck & King.

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Those recommendations were made in a report issued by the Health Law Section. The report suggested that these standards for ventilators and PPE should be triggered anytime there are insufficient medical supplies, ICU beds or trained health care workers to meet the needs of all hospital patients.

“The report is a model of scholarship, brimming with expertise and erudition, and it provides analysis and recommendations on vitally important public health issues at a critical moment in our history,” said NYSBA President Hank Greenberg. “It will serve as an indispensable resource for policymakers. I thank the task force’s members for producing a report that illustrates why NYSBA is a state and national thought leader on the great issues of the day.”

Shortages of medical supplies were a major issue for New York and other states in the early stages of the pandemic. Joseph Fins, a Weill Cornell Medicine bioethicist who served as the expert advisor to the Health Law Section, said these shortages could be a persistent issue.

“Despite public declarations to the contrary, there was scarcity and resort to crisis of standards of care in New York City during the COVID-19 surge,” Fins wrote in an upcoming issue of the NYSBA Health Law Journal. “To respond to this dire need, hospitals across the city increased their ICU capacity by over 200-300% … Although the attention was on the shortage of equipment and the built environment, the greater stressor was the lack of adequately trained personnel able to manage critically ill patients.”

The report called the guidelines necessary so that health care providers will have a plan for when resources become scarce. It recommended that the guidelines be reviewed and amended as needed by the DOH.


The report also draws attention to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Black and Latinx communities and older adults. It made a series of recommendations to mitigate these impacts.

“The cumulative disadvantage of race, ethnicity, age, gender, underlying conditions, and poverty have compounded the detrimental impact of the pandemic across Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx groups including older adults, nursing home residents, persons who are homeless living in shelters or who are incarcerated, immigrants, and essential workers,” said Mary Beth Morrissey, chair of the section’s Task Force on COVID-19, a fellow at Fordham University’s Global Health Care Innovation Management Center and a faculty member in the graduate schools.

“Nursing homes, in particular, largely segregated before the pandemic, have been crucibles of racialized suffering and racial disparities during the pandemic,” Morrissey said.


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7 Comments

  1. Robert Davis

    Making the vaccine mandatory is Criminal. To Hold those personally Liable. Prove that it is Safe…Impossible. While Japan has Banned HPV vaccine, Albany is mandating it without Choice. Lawyers are becoming nothing but criminals…time to move out of NY.

  2. kirk petrie

    Ppl have been sneezing and coughing for goddamn ever….NOW…all of a sudden….everyone needs a mask…wonder how ppl were surviving ALL this time?!?!!!
    Why is it slowly coming out that doctors are pressured to put covid 19 on death certificates?!??!??
    If this virus is so deadly and dangerous….WHY….the need to lie on death certificates….because it’s actually ANOTHER cause that is REALLY affecting ppl…or else why the need to lie.
    Ppl who NEVER get vaccine shots who NEVER get the flu….Ppl who get vaccine shots…that STILL get the flu!!!!!
    Why don’t these so called ppl in authority EVER talk about PREVENTION….and NATURAL sources listed in the government’s OWN literature….why aren’t they adamant about THAT?!?!?!! Because vaccines are poison, toxic… government doesn’t give a damn about ppls health….look at ALL the things allowed in food alone…just read the labels for chemicals you couldn’t even spell….so called viruses that’s killed ppl in the THOUSANDS….just go to the CDC’s website…and look at the numbers for yourself….WHY.. weren’t they enforcing the wearing of masks all THOSE years….but all of a sudden…they want to FORCE vaccinations….SHOVE IT!!!!
    You ppl are run by fear…afraid to look at true information…because it will shift you out of that comfort of abuse you’ve adapted to.
    If someone is vaccinated if you be(lie)ve in that….WHY…be concerned with a person who IS NOT vaccinated?!?!!! Your protected right????
    A JOKE that the majority out here really think….that they think for themselves….your parrots…..better get real to what’s going on out here!!!

  3. Maureen Healy

    The actual report is here: https://nysba.org/app/uploads/2020/05/HealthLawSectionTaskForceCOVID-19Report_5.13.20.pdf
    Bob Abruzzese’s first sentence (“A successful vaccine for COVID-19 may still be many months away, but once it’s ready the New York State Bar Association says it should be made mandatory for New Yorkers, with exemptions made by doctors.”) would appear to be wrong. The report’s vaccine section, which surely does recommend a mandatory vaccine policy (“mandatory vaccinations for COVID-19 should be required in the United States as soon as it [a vaccine] is available”), makes no mention of any exemption one’s doctor can provide.
    And from the same section, this sentence that won’t leave my mind: “The history of unsuccessful attempts to challenge mandatory vaccinations may reduce the extent of opposition.” I think the NYS Bar Assn misreads the moment. We’ll see.