ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul has expanded the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers to include staff at certain facilities offering health care to individuals served by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

This new requirement will apply to all individuals working at the psychiatric hospitals in the OMH network, as well as those working at the specialty hospital certified by OPWDD.  

Staff are required to show proof of at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine shot by November 1, without a test-out option. Staff in these settings will be required to submit to weekly testing, if unvaccinated, beginning October 12.  

“Vaccine requirements work in getting people to do the right thing, and all professionals in health settings must take every basic precaution against COVID-19, including the vaccine, so they do not spread the virus to the people coming in for treatment,” said Hochul.

The vaccine mandate for health care workers went into effect on September 27 and applied to all hospitals and nursing homes. On October 7, the mandate will take effect at additional facilities, including adult care facilities, home health agencies, long term home health care programs, AIDS home care programs, hospice care, and diagnostic and treatment centers.

“We have an obligation to extend this assurance to those who need to receive mental health services and special care, which is why we are making the vaccine mandatory for all staff who work in these facilities that fall under state jurisdiction,” said Hochul.