New York Will Require All Health Care Workers to be Vaccinated

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NEW YORK NOW – All health care workers in New York state will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including those at hospitals and long-term care facilities, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

The deadline for those workers to receive the first dose of a vaccine will be September 27, Cuomo said, after which they won’t be allowed to work at their respective facilities.

Those people required to receive the vaccine include healthcare workers and staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities, like nursing homes. Cuomo said the order is in response to rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across the state in recent weeks.

“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 percent of recent positives in New York State are linked to the Delta variant,” Cuomo said.

The Cuomo administration is using what are called Section 16 Orders to enforce the mandate, which was previously only applicable to employees at state-run facilities. The new requirement applies to all health care workers in New York, regardless of employer.

Section 16 of the state’s public health law essentially allows the agency to hand down emergency regulations when there’s an imminent threat to public health.

The Greater New York Hospital Association. which represents various hospitals around the state, said in a statement after the mandate was announced that the group and its members would support the requirement.

“New York’s mandate will help ensure that hospitals and other health care providers can deliver the best care for patients while keeping their workers and communities safe,” said Kenneth Raske, the group’s president. “I support this State action.”

The New York State Nurses Association, the state’s largest nurses union, has encouraged its members to get vaccinated, but was previously against using mandates to make that happen without going through the bargaining process.

The group didn’t immediately comment on Cuomo’s announcement Monday.