FACT CHECK: Are New York Hospitals Refusing To Release Newborn Babies To Unvaccinated Parents?

Mecca Fowler | Contributor

A viral Facebook post claims New York hospitals are refusing to release newborn babies to unvaccinated parents.

Verdict: False

New York hospitals are not refusing to release newborn babies to their unvaccinated parents, the New York State Department of Health and NYU Langone Health confirmed.

Fact Check:

The viral Facebook post appears to stem from a similar claim made on Twitter. The tweet reads, “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.” That claim also appeared on Instagram.

There is, however, no indication New York hospitals are refusing to let unvaccinated parents take their newborn babies home. Neither the New York State Department of Health nor NYU Langone Health, the medical center mentioned in certain iterations of the claim, express such a policy on their respective websites. Instead, both the New York State Department of Health and NYU Langone Health have refuted such claims circulating online.

“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,” reads a New York State Health Department statement provided to Check Your Fact via email by a spokesperson. “There is simply no truth to these claims. This is part of a larger dangerous misinformation campaign.”

NYU Langone Health tweeted Oct. 2: “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.”

“In response to unfounded concerns regarding our neonatal services: No primary parent or guardian will be denied access to their newborn child at any point during their hospital stay or during the discharge process, regardless of vaccination status,” NYU Langone Health said in an Oct. 5 tweet.

All visitors are “required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours prior to their visit” at NYU Langone Health inpatient locations, according to the organization’s current visitation policies. (RELATED: Viral Post Falsely Claims Shriners Hospitals Patient Ambassador Kaleb-Wolf De Melo Torres Passed Away)

Brian Conway, a spokesperson for the Greater New York Hospital Association, also refuted the claim. In a phone call with Check Your Fact, he said, “I’ve heard nothing like that, at all, from any hospitals up here. I think that just sounds like a very bad rumor.” The Greater New York Hospital Association is a trade association that, according to its LinkedIn profile, represents over 160 hospitals and health systems across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states that “current evidence suggests that the chance of a newborn getting COVID-19 from their birth parent is low, especially when the parent takes steps (such as wearing a mask and washing hands) to prevent spread before and during care of the newborn.” One page on the CDC website provides recommended precautions to take if a person is in isolation for COVID-19 and sharing a hospital room with their newborn and if a person is in isolation at home and caring for their newborn.

Mecca Fowler