ALBANY, N.Y. (UPDATED) – The New York State Department of Health is requiring health care workers to get vaccinated in September.
The mandate applies to staff at hospitals, nursing homes, long-term or adult care facilities and any other congregate care settings. There may be limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons. Staff will be required to get the first dose by Sept. 27.
Under Section 16 of public health law, the state health commissioner can issue a public health order like this if “any person is causing, engaging in or maintaining a condition or activity which in his opinion constitutes danger to the health of the people…”
“While we have made tremendous progress in getting New Yorkers vaccinated, this pandemic is far from over and more must be done. The data and science tell us that getting more people vaccinated as quickly as possible is the best way to keep people safe, prevent further mutations, and enable us to resume our daily routines,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “This mandate will both help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the Delta variant. I want to thank all New York State's health care workers for stepping up once again and showing our state that getting vaccinated is safe, easy, and most importantly, effective."
Part of the order requires the facilities to develop and implement policies mandating employee vaccinations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced his resignation last week, says Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office has been briefed on this new mandate.
Last month, Cuomo announced that employees at state-run hospitals would be required to be vaccinated by Labor Day or tested weekly for COVID-19.
According to state data, there are around 450,000 hospital workers in New York, and about 75% of them are vaccinated. Of the roughly 30,000 adult care facility workers, 74% are vaccinated, and out of around 145,000 nursing home employees, 68% have been vaccinated.
Out of the entire state population, 65% have had at least one vaccine dose, and 58% are fully vaccinated so far.
Here are the vaccination rates locally according to state data:
- 54.4% of total population with at least one vaccine dose
- 65.1% of 18+ population with at least one vaccine dose
- 58.2% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated (according to Oneida County dashboard)
- 49.2% of total population with at least one vaccine dose
- 58.7% of 18+ population with at least one vaccine dose
- 56.7% of total population with at least one vaccine dose
- 64% of 18+ population with at least one vaccine dose
Oneida, Herkimer and Otsego counties are all considered areas with high levels of COVID-19 transmission, according to the CDC. In those areas, people are encouraged to wear masks in indoor public settings, and get vaccinated if they aren’t already.