New York to drop COVID-19 vaccine rule for hospital workers

The New York State Department of Health has started the process of repealing its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workers at regulated healthcare facilities, the agency announced May 24. 

The repeal will end a statewide requirement for workers in hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities and other congregate care settings that was rolled out in August 2021 by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. By fall 2021, nearly 34,000 health workers — or 3 percent of the state's healthcare workforce — were out of jobs due to noncompliance with the rule.

"Throughout the public health emergency, this vaccine requirement served as a critical public health tool, helping to protect both healthcare workers and the patients under their care. As the repeal of this regulation awaits consideration for approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council, the Department will not commence any new enforcement actions," the agency stated. "However, it should be noted that facilities should continue to implement their own internal policies regarding COVID-19 vaccination."

While New York's health department will stop citing providers for noncompliance with the rule, it noted that it may continue to "seek sanctions against providers based on previously cited violations that allegedly occurred." 

New York's end to the vaccine requirement follows the same announcement from the federal government. On May 1, the Biden administration announced that HHS "will start the process" to end the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees of CMS-certified healthcare facilities with details made available in coming days.


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