Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that patient-facing healthcare workers at state-run hospitals will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day. There will not be an option to be tested in lieu of vaccination for these patient-facing healthcare workers. The Governor 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.

“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,” Governor 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.”

The Governor also called on the FDA to expedite final approval of the vaccine and end emergency use authorization restrictions. Governor Cuomo 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.

State-run hospitals and facilities include:

  • SUNY Stony Brook
  • SUNY Upstate
  • SUNY Downstate
  • Long Island Veterans Home at Stony Brook
  • Helen Hayes Hospital
  • SUNY College of Optometry
  • Montrose Veterans Home
  • St. Albans Veterans Home
  • Oxford Veterans Home
  • Batavia Veterans Home

New York State continues to promote and expand access to the vaccine, particularly in communities with lower vaccination rates. On July 26, Governor Cuomo announced the allocation of $15 million from the New York State budget to promote vaccination in communities across the state that were hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to strengthen communication, expand public education and enhance ongoing outreach efforts throughout diverse communities. The Governor also announced a new ad urging New Yorkers across the state to get vaccinated.

All COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States have proven extremely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. The effectiveness of the FDA-approved vaccines remains strong even against newer strains, including against variants of concern such as the Delta variant identified in India, also known as B.1.617.2. Those who are unvaccinated have the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill, which is why the New York State Department of Health urges all eligible New Yorkers to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.