June 13, 2024

New York State mandates health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccine

Gov. Andrew Cuomo kicked off this week by announcing that all health care workers in New York State will be required to get vaccinated.

“By Monday, Sept. 27, all health care workers in NY will be required to be vaccinated against COVID,” he tweeted Monday to his followers. “This includes staff at hospitals – long-term care facilities – nursing homes, adult care & other congregate settings.”

In the attached link, Cuomo cited ongoing concerns about the Delta variant as the inspiration for the decision. He also shared on his website that the State Department of Health plans to issue Section 16 Orders, which would require facilities to develop a vaccination-mandate policy.

vaccine thegrio.com
(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

The only exceptions that can be made are for those with medical or religious reasons.

“Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine,” Cuomo explained. “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.” 

This announcement comes just days after the FDA-approved booster shots for immunocompromised people who remain at higher risk.

“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said. “As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time.”

vaccine thegrio.com
(AP Photo/Ben Curtis, FIle)

The directive comes just as the U.S. is mulling whether COVID-19 vaccines booster shots will be available for the elderly this fall. There is a concern that the effectiveness of the initial shot may begin to wear off.

“And delta is a nasty one for us to try to deal with. The combination of those two means we may need boosters, maybe beginning first with health care providers, as well as people in nursing homes, and then gradually moving forward” with others, such as older Americans who were among the first to get vaccinations after they became available late last year,” Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health said Sunday.

Collins cautioned that the virus was surging and action was necessary.

“That’s heartbreaking considering we never thought we would be back in that space again,” Collins said of rising U.S. infections overall. “But here we are with the delta variant, which is so contagious, and this heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still unvaccinated who are sitting ducks for this virus, and that’s the mess we’re in. We’re in a world of hurt.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci also urged people to do their parts with “mitigation.”

“We’ve just got to realize that we’re dealing with a public health crisis,” he said. “The more you get infections, the more spread you get, the greater opportunity the virus has to continue to evolve and mutate.”

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