The New York State Bar Association on Wednesday announced the formation of a task force to consider whether vaccination mandates should be considered amid growing concerns over the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
The task force was announced by the bar association as Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed a vaccination mandate for state workers in New York, with the requirement that employees be vaccinated by Labor Day or be tested weekly for the virus.
Cuomo also encouraged local government officials to take similar steps, and said school districts should consider an "aggressive" approach to vaccinations if the virus continues to spread. About 75% of New York adults have received at least dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Cuomo said he was on firm legal footing to require employees be vaccinated. Private and public sector employers have in recent days announced requirements for their workers to be vaccinated or face frequent testing.
The task force formed on Wednesday will consider whether broad mandates for vaccinations is needed "for the greater good," as well as examine vaccine hesitancy among vulnerable groups like people of color and Indigenous people.
"Government has no more pressing responsibility than to protect the public’s health and safety," said NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown. "Those who don’t get vaccinated are not only endangering themselves, but also putting those around them at risk, including some of our most vulnerable residents who, through no fault of their own, cannot protect themselves. Our state and nation are at a dangerous tipping point. It is time to consider all possible options to protect the largest number of individuals and communities against this highly contagious and fast-moving virus."