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State to require COVID-19 vaccine for all healthcare workers


All healthcare workers, including hospital staff, and those working at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and adult care, are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, Sept. 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The New York State Department of Health will issue orders requiring all healthcare facilities to enact policies mandating that employees receive vaccinations, though those with religious or medical reasons would be exempt.

“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.

As of Monday, the vaccination rate was 75 percent for roughly 450,000 hospital workers, 74 percent for around 30,000 adult care facility workers, and 68 percent for approximately 145,000 nursing home staff.

The state health department reported a 1,000 percent increase in positive cases over the last six weeks with 80 percent of the cases linked to the new delta variant. Cuomo urged all private businesses to enforce a vaccine mandate for service, and encouraged school districts to mandate vaccination for teachers.

“While we have made tremendous progress in getting New Yorkers vaccinated, this pandemic is far from over and more must be done,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, state health commissioner.

Zucker said this mandate will help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the delta variant.

Racquel Stephen is a reporter for WXXI, a media partner of CITY.