Fact check: New York hospitals aren't stopping unvaccinated parents from taking newborns

·3 min read

The claim: New York hospitals are refusing to release newborn babies to parents who aren’t vaccinated

Shortly after a New York hospital said it would stop delivering babies because employees quit rather than get vaccinated against COVID-19, some people online claimed unvaccinated parents wouldn’t be able to take home their newborn infants.

“New York hospitals refusing to release newborn babies to un(vaccinated) parents,” reads an Oct. 3 Facebook post.

Other social media users claimed the purported rule was based on new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“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,” reads an Oct. 2 Instagram post. “You Need to Show VAX-Passport to see your own New Born Baby.”

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Similar versions of the claim have been shared to Twitter, iFunny and online discussion forums.

But the New York State Department of Health and NYU Langone Health say the claim is inaccurate. Unvaccinated parents are not restricted from taking home newborn infants.

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook and Instagram users who shared the post for comment.

State Health Department, hospital dispute claim

There is no evidence parents who aren't vaccinated are restricted from taking their babies home from hospitals in New York. Public health officials have refuted the claim.

Jill Montag, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Health, told USA TODAY there is no truth to the claims.

“The New York State Department of Health is deeply disturbed by the grossly inaccurate messages being spread on social media regarding the false claim that there’s a prohibition on parents/guardians taking a baby home from the hospital based upon vaccination status,” Montag said in an emailed statement.

NYU Langone Health, a medical center in New York City, also debunked the rumor in an Oct. 2 tweet.

“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 wrote.

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The CDC says on its website that the chance of a newborn contracting COVID-19 from their birth parent is low, especially when preventive measures are taken.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that New York hospitals are refusing to release newborn babies to parents who aren’t vaccinated. A hospital in New York City and the state Health Department said there is no truth to the claim. USA TODAY could find no evidence to support the claim, either.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: New York hospitals let unvaccinated parents take newborns

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