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Home care workers face deadline to get vaccinated in NY

The Home Healthcare Workers of America recently estimated that around 30% of its 32,000 members were still unvaccinated as the deadline approached.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Home health aides who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination are barred from working in New York as of Friday under a new state mandate. 

One industry group warned that could lead to thousands of caregivers losing their jobs. Data on how many of the state’s home health aides had been vaccinated ahead of the deadline wasn’t immediately available, but there are fears that many still hadn’t gotten their required first shot. 

The Home Healthcare Workers of America recently estimated that around 30% of its 32,000 members were still unvaccinated as the deadline approached.

Earlier this week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new vaccine mandate for healthcare workers who work in facilities that treat individuals with mental health issues and developmental disabilities. Under this new mandate, staff working in these settings will be required to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID vaccine by November 1.  There will be no test out option. 

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in August that by September 27, those working at health care facilities must be vaccinated or they can no longer work there.  Hochul has stood by this even after she took over. 

Here's what the NYS Department of Health says health care companies must follow under the mandate: 

  • The DOH-licensed entities subject to this emergency regulation, which states: (2) “Personnel,” for the purposes of this section, shall mean all persons employed or affiliated with a covered entity, whether paid or unpaid, including but not limited to employees, members of the medical and nursing staff, contract staff, students, and volunteers, who engage in activities such that if they were infected with COVID-19, they could potentially expose other covered personnel, patients or residents to the disease.
  • It is up to covered entities to develop a plan for implementation of the mandate and what happens if employees do not comply. Their plans could include termination.
  • The regulation continues to require nursing home and hospital personnel to receive the first dose of vaccine by September 27, and requires personnel of additional covered entities listed in the regulation to receive a first dose by October 7.