ALBANY – New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers has been extended.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the news on Tuesday, saying the requirement is now in place for a new group of healthcare professionals.
The new mandate will require all of those working at the psychiatric hospitals under the Office of Mental Health, and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, to get their first dose of the vaccine by this time next month.
“We want to talk about our OMH, Office of Mental Health, and OPWDD, the people at disability facilities. We want to make sure that we have safety in those as well,” says Hochul. “The ones that are hospital settings, we want them to have their first dose by the 11th. I’m sorry, November 1.”
Those who are required to get vaccinated will not need testing, but will need to receive their first dose by her deadline, or be terminated. Hochul is making the expectations very clear on how she wants to combat COVID-19.
“And we’ll start weekly testing for those who are unvaccinated. Again, this is a category where more people are apt to be coming in and out,” says Hochul. “Not with the same care provider in other settings, but we’re going to start focusing on this right now and reaching out to them to let them know these are our expectations.”
For the unvaccinated, testing will begin on a weekly basis. This will start on October 12, and will occur within all hospital settings.
“I don’t think there’d be any surprise, but we will have the full vaccine mandate for these hospital settings, which are analogous to the hospital settings that are already doing it. So this makes sense,” says Hochul. “This is what we’re doing. We’re very excited. I’m going to be having a call with the White House later this afternoon, to talk about how we’re progressing on a number of fronts.”
Hochul is looking to get other vaccination brands fully approved as soon as possible, in order to provide people with the affordable medication that they need.
“Again, this is another conversation I’m going to have with the White House. When will we expect approvals for the other forms of vaccination? I’m a J & J person myself, waiting on that Moderna as well,” says Hochul. “We’re doing well with Pfizer, but we also want to make sure that those other vaccine brands are approved soon so we can get people the afforded medication that they need to have. So, that’s what we’re concerned about.”
Previously the State announced that hospital workers had to have their first dose by September 27, submit an exception or be fired.
The state also previously said they would not accept religious exemption, but was forced to do so from a federal judge.
The judge has until October 12 to make a final decision on religious exemption.