NEW YORK (WWTI) — Medical staff and health care workers in New York now have to get vaccinated for COVID. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all health care workers, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities, must be vaccinated by September 27.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), 75% of New York’s hospital workers, 74% of the state’s adult care facility workers, and 68% of the state’s nursing home workers have completed their vaccine series. Following Cuomo’s announcement, DOH will reportedly soon issue Section 16 Orders requiring all hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes to develop and implement an employee mandate. This will include limited exceptions for religious or medical reasons.
“When COVID ambushed New York last year, New Yorkers acted, while the Federal Government denied the problem,” Cuomo said in a press release. “Now, the delta variant is spreading across the nation and across New York, new daily positives are up over 1000% over the last six weeks, and over 80% of recent positives in New York State are linked to the Delta variant. We must now act again to stop the spread. Our health care heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine.”
The Governor’s Office confirmed that Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration was briefed prior to the announcement. Cuomo also announced that DOH has authorized a third vaccine dose for those with compromised immune systems. This follows the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations from last week of August.
DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a written statement: “While we have made tremendous progress in getting New Yorkers vaccinated, this pandemic is far from over, and more must be done. 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. This mandate will both help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the Delta variant.”
Eligible New Yorkers can now receive their third dose of the vaccine 28 days after completing a two-dose series, effective immediately. The CDC says those who have received an organ transplant or stem cell transplant within the last two years, have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, have an advanced or untreated HIV infection, or are undergoing active treatments with high-dose corticosteroids or active cancer treatment are good candidates.
New York also recently mandated COVID vaccinations for MTA and Port Authority employees working in state facilities. These employees are required to be vaccinated by Labor Day. State employees and patient-facing employees in state-run hospitals also have to get vaccinated by Labor Day. State employees who choose to remain unvaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID testing.
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