Health-care workers at state-run hospitals are required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day.
The state will not offer an option for patient-facing health-care workers to get tested in lieu of vaccination, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse is among 10 state-run facilities for which this mandate applies, per Cuomo’s office.
Upstate Medical University began the year administering COVID-19 vaccine doses to frontline personnel. SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras visited the medical school in early January to meet with school leaders and discuss the vaccination process. At the time, more than 6,000 Upstate Medical University staffers had received the first dose, Dr. Mantosh Dewan, school president, said to open a press briefing at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Along with state-run hospital health-care workers, Cuomo also announced that all New York State employees — about 130,000 people — will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day. State employees who do not get vaccinated will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
New York State is working with state unions to implement the requirement "quickly and fairly," per Cuomo's office.
“New Yorkers have displayed tremendous dedication and resilience to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic across the state, but vaccination rates aren't keeping pace with the Delta variant and we need to act now,” Cuomo said. “That's why we're requiring everyone who works in a state-run hospital and interacts with patients to get vaccinated. New York is taking its vaccination effort a step further and requiring all state employees to get the shot or be tested weekly, and we look forward to working with our sisters and brothers in the labor movement to implement that quickly and effectively by Labor Day. Our healthcare heroes have led the way all through this terrible crisis, so let's get vaccinated, save lives and beat this beast for once and for all.”
Cuomo also called on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to expedite final approval of the vaccine and end emergency use authorization restrictions. He also urged local governments to require all employees to be vaccinated or submit to testing by Labor Day. If the numbers continue to increase, school districts in affected areas should also “strongly consider taking further action,” Cuomo’s office said.