NY Health care workers to be required to get COVID-19 booster shot

During her Friday press conference, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new...
During her Friday press conference, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new booster mandate for health care workers.(WBNG)
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 4:38 PM EST
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(WBNG) -- Governor Kathy Hochul announced during her COVID-19 briefing on Friday that a booster mandate will be put in place for health care workers.

“You would want to make sure that anyone taking care of you is fully protected,” said Hochul, “But also we’ve seen hospitals and healthcare facilities stressed because people who maybe only have the vaccination, not the booster are having breakthroughs. And this is a phenomenon of Omicron.”

Health care workers will have two weeks to get the shot after they are eligible. There will be no test-out option and only medical exemptions will be allowed.

The Public Health and Planning Council must approve it before it goes into effect, but during her briefing, the governor said she’s confident it will be approved.

“We’re the first state in the nation to institute this because this has been such an important priority. You’ve already seen what’s been happening in our healthcare environment. The staff is getting sick. They’re leaving. We need them to get well, we need them to have the best fortification they possibly can. And that means getting a booster shot,” said Hochul.

During her briefing, the governor also announced updated guidelines when it comes to visitation rules in nursing homes. She said visitors must wear surgical-style masks and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 24 hours.

“They need to make sure that visitors are tested and not positive when they walk in the door to go possibly expose an entire facility. This will spread like wildfire,” said Hochul.

During the briefing, Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Basset expressed concerns over the increased rate of pediatric hospitalizations.

She said among children who are under five it’s gone up nearly eightfold, and in older teens, 12 to 18, it has gone up tenfold.

“So this is faster than in adults who’ve gone up between around about two to two and a half fold,” said Dr. Basset, “And although the numbers of children affected are fairly small, when we first reported on this on December 25th, we were talking about 150 children who had been admitted, and we’re now up to 570-some children admitted in the most recent week.”

Dr. Basset also said the vast majority of children being hospitalized are unvaccinated against the virus.

“Over 90% of the very young group, five to 11-year-olds have not been vaccinated, that needs to change,” said Dr. Basset

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