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New York's healthcare workers required to get first COVID-19 vaccine dose by September 27

The Department of Health order includes both hospitals and long-term care facilities.
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Female nurse with a mask putting on gloves

ALBANY, N.Y. — By September 27, all healthcare workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities across New York will be required to have gotten at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Long-term care facilities include nursing homes, adult care and other congregate care settings. Exceptions will be allowed for those with religious or medical reasons.

So far, 75% of the state's approximate 450,000 hospital workers, 74% adult care facility workers and 68% of the state's nursing home workers are completely vaccinated. 

"When COVID ambushed New York last year, New Yorkers acted, while the Federal Government denied the problem," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "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 percent of recent positives in New York State are linked to the Delta variant. We must now act again to stop the spread. Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine. 

"We have always followed the science, and we're doing so again today, with these recommendations by Dr. Zucker and federal and state health experts. But we need to do more. I have strongly urged private businesses to implement vaccinated-only admission policies, and school districts to mandate vaccinations for teachers. Neither will occur without the state legally mandating the actions -- private businesses will not enforce a vaccine mandate unless it's the law, and local school districts will be hesitant to make these challenging decisions without legal direction."

The governor's office said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul's administration was briefed prior to Monday's announcement. 

The Department of Health has also authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for New Yorkers with compromised immune systems based on last week's recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Those include people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medications to suppress the immune system;
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection;
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, cancer chemotherapy that causes sever immunosuppression, or other medications that may suppress your immune response.

If you fall into any of those categories, the DOH says you should contact your healthcare provider about whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for you at this time.

Erie County's Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein, had this to say about the mandate:

“Vaccinating health care workers to protect against COVID-19 will benefit the most medically vulnerable people in our state and county, especially immunocompromised individuals and children who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, and reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure in hospitals and nursing homes,” said Burstein.

“Increasing the number of Erie County residents and workers who are vaccinated will contribute to a healthier county, a healthier healthcare workforce, and will give patients, nursing home and adult care facility residents, and their families piece of mind that there is an additional layer of protection in these settings.”

Dr. Burstein said as of August 11, 78% of hospital workers in Erie County were fully vaccinated according to hospital reports.