The New York State Department of Health issued an order Monday requiring all health care workers be vaccinated against Covid-19 by September 27, according to a statement released by outgoing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
“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,” Cuomo said in the statement, noting that new daily cases have increased significantly over the last six weeks.
Monday’s vaccination mandate comes weeks after Cuomo announced that all patient-facing health care workers at state hospitals must get vaccinated with no testing options. Cuomo is now requiring all health care workers including staff at “nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings” be vaccinated by the September deadline.
“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,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. “This mandate will both help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the Delta variant.”
Cuomo also said that the Department of Health authorized a third Covid-19 vaccine dose following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations issued last week.
The vaccine holdouts represent a significant chunk of public health workers. According to Cuomo’s office, about 75% of the state’s hospital workers, 74% of the state’s adult care facility workers, and 68% of the state’s nursing home workers are fully vaccinated.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is set to replace Cuomo. Her administration was briefed on the vaccination mandate prior to the announcement, according to the statement.