New York orders health care workers to be vaccinated
New York state will require health care workers to get at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before Sept. 27, becoming the latest jurisdiction to institute such a mandate.
Outgoing Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Monday that health care employees, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities, will have to start their vaccination process by Sept. 27.
The state’s Department of Health will mandate hospitals and long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and adult care settings, to create and enforce policies requiring vaccinations for their workers. The policies will include “limited exceptions” for religious and medical reasons.
“We must now act again to stop the spread,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine.”
A portion of the health care workers in the state still remain unvaccinated, as the governor’s office reports 75 percent of hospital workers, 75 percent of adult care facility workers and 68 percent of nursing home workers have gotten their COVID-19 shots.
“The data and science tell us that getting more people vaccinated as quickly as possible is the best way to keep people safe, prevent further mutations, and enable us to resume our daily routines,” New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in the release. “This mandate will both help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the Delta variant.”
The governor also announced the state would supply immunocompromised residents with a third dose 28 days after their second dose, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee’s recommendation Friday.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) administration, which will take over after Cuomo officially resigns, was briefed ahead of the decision, the governor’s office said.
New York, like most states, is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with a daily average of 4,121 new COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, an 81 percent increase from two weeks earlier, according to data from The New York Times.
A majority of the state is considered to have “substantial” or “high” transmission, meaning the CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated to wear masks indoors applies.
The requirement for health care workers comes as Washington, D.C., also announced Monday a vaccine mandate for health professionals in the city.
Cuomo previously said state employees, patient-facing employees in state-run hospitals and the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Port Authority workers in state facilities would have to get COVID-19 shots.
New York City officials had already said the city will require proof of vaccination for workers and customers to participate in indoor activities, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) declared earlier this month.
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