New York moms and dads were starting to panic and getting angry after a claim circulated that unvaccinated parents would not be able to bring their newborns home from the hospitals because of a vaccine mandate.
A post on social media stirred the false claims when an alleged doctor shared that mothers or fathers have to be vaccinated before taking their infants home. The post, however, did not provide any valid links to the claims.
Similar claims were also made on Facebook, Instagram, and discussion forums online. They claimed that NYU Langone and other hospitals follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The posts have drawn strong reactions from the followers, with some claiming that the government is committing mass kidnapping. Others, however, were more cautious about believing the claims.
"Have to be careful not to post this sort of thing without links though, I can't find this info anywhere else but this post," one commenter said.
New Forced Control: NYU Langone and other Hospitals in New York and Long Island are Forcing that if the Parent is not VAXXED they will not release Babies From NICU to Parents or after birth as per CDC Guidelines. You Need to Show VAX-Passport to see your own New Born Baby. pic.twitter.com/eMUUPg9pSY— DR AFZAL NIAZ M.D, M.B.B.S (King Edward) ,FRCS (@DRAFZALNIAZ2) October 1, 2021
NY Department of Health Responds
After the false information went viral, the New York State Department of Health disputed the claims. Jill Montag, the spokesperson for the department, also informed the media that the claims were not true. Montag told USA Today that the department is "deeply disturbed by the grossly inaccurate messages being spread on social media." She reiterated that unvaccinated parents are not prohibited from taking their newborn infants after birth based on their vaccination status.
NYU Langone also issued a statement on social media saying that the stories going around were inaccurate and harmful. There is no evidence that unvaccinated parents are having difficulty bringing their babies home from the hospital because they would be blocked. The CDC also indicated on its website that the chances of newborn babies contracting COVID-19 from their unvaccinated parents are low. However, preventive measures are still necessary to ensure that the safety guidelines are followed.
In response to the false & completely unfounded post circulating on social media: NYU Langone DOES NOT prohibit a parent/guardian from taking a child home from the NICU due to their vaccination status—we vehemently discourage the spread of this inaccurate, harmful information.— NYU Langone Health (@nyulangone) October 2, 2021
NY Vaccine Mandate Expands
The news comes as New York has expanded its vaccine mandate among medical workers to include those in mental and developmental disabilities facilities. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that vaccination requirements for these workers would be implemented beginning November 1, while unvaccinated workers will have to subject themselves to testings starting October 12. In a statement, the governor said that the state has an obligation to assure the safety of those who need care from medical workers.
Some of the staff challenged New York's vaccine mandate for hospital workers, forcing some facilities to shut down their NICU and nursery departments as workers resigned instead of getting vaccinated. Some teachers have also sued the state for requiring vaccinations, but the court has rejected these requests.
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