Cuomo Declares COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Healthcare Workers

J.M. Lesinski
Photo by J.M. Lesinski

With fall around the corner and COVID-19 still with New York state almost a year and a half since the initial lockdown began, vaccine mandates are expected to become commonplace in many areas of the workforce.

Soon to be Ex-New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that all applicable healthcare workers, including those in long-term care facilities and hospital staff, must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, September 27. The New York State Department of Health is expected to issue Section 16 orders implementing the mandate, only offering limited exceptions for religious or medical reasons.

"When COVID ambushed New York last year, New Yorkers acted, while the Federal Government denied the problem," Cuomo said of the announcement. "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.”

Following the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s recommendation last week, the Department of Health also authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for individuals in New York who have compromised immune systems. Those New Yorkers who are eligible may get a third dose approximately twenty-eight days after their initial two-dose vaccine series.

“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,” Cuomo went on to say. “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."

Currently, the CDC recommends that moderate to severe immunocompromised individuals get a third dose, including those actively receiving cancer treatment for blood cancers or tumors, those who received an organ transplant or a stem cell transplant and are taking medication to suppress the immune system, those with advanced or untreated HIV, those with DiGeorge syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, those currently being treated with high-dose corticosteroids, and those currently underdoing cancer chemotherapy that causes severe immunosuppression.

"While we have made tremendous progress in getting New Yorkers vaccinated, this pandemic is far from over and more must be done,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker remarked of the announcement. “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. 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 healthcare workers for stepping up once again and showing our state that getting vaccinated is safe, easy, and most importantly, effective."

These newest steps follow Cuomo’s August 2 announcement that Port Authority and MTA employees in New York must be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day to continue working in their facilities. State employees that have chosen to remain unvaccinated will be expected to take part in weekly COVID testing.

"We continue to fight COVID-19 across the state each and every day, but vaccinations are the key to our success and more New Yorkers need to get their shots," Cuomo also noted. "We've maintained vaccination sites conveniently located throughout New York State, and residents can make appointments or simply walk in to get their shots. I implore anyone who is eligible and hasn't yet taken the vaccine to do so right away—it's a safe step we can all take to protect our families, friends and all New Yorkers."

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program.

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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