Healthcare Workers who Care for New York's Most Vulnerable Patients Must be Vaccinated by Nov. 1

Healthcare Workers who Care for New York's Most Vulnerable Patients Must be Vaccinated by Nov. 1

     Healthcare workers and all other staff members who work in hospitals that treat both psychiatric patients and patients with developmental disabilities are the latest of the state’s workers to be mandated to have gotten their shots, announced Gov. Kathy Hochul, who added that proof of at least one vaccination dose must be shown by Nov. 1.

     "Many of the people the Office of Mental Health (OMH) serves have underlying medical conditions that make them far more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus,” said OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said. “The vaccine has proven to be safe and effective and will protect our patients and employees as well as our families and communities.

     “I urge everyone to get the vaccine and I applaud Gov. Hochul for extending the mandate."

     On Sept. 27, the vaccine mandate that went into effect applied only to healthcare workers at the state’s hospitals and nursing homes.

     In two days, on Oct. 7, the vaccine mandate will go into effect for healthcare workers who serve patients at additional facilities that are regulated by the Department of Health, such as adult care facilities, home health agencies, long term home health care programs, AIDS home care programs, hospice care, and diagnostic and treatment centers.

     Although healthcare workers who work in facilities that are served by both the OMH and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will not receive the option to test weekly for COVID, starting on Oct. 12, the unvaccinated staff who treat some of New York’s most vulnerable patients will be required to submit weekly testing.

     "Vaccine requirements work in getting people to do the right thing, and all professionals in health settings must take every basic precaution against COVID-19: including the vaccine, so they do not spread the virus to the people coming in for treatment," said Gov. Hochul, who said she plans to continue expanding the vaccine requirement into the human service and mental hygiene care settings in the coming weeks while continuing to maintain staffing levels. "We have an obligation to extend this assurance to those who need to receive mental health services and special care, which is why we are making the vaccine mandatory for all staff who work in these facilities that fall under State jurisdiction."

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