Workers in the health care field will continue to be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as other pandemic-era regulations like requiring facemasks inside health care facilities are ending, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said.
The ongoing vaccination requirement is consistent with federal policy set by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, Hochul said.
"When you walked into a health care facility, a hospital or a nursing home, you should have the right to know that an individual who is taking care of you is not going to contract a virus and pass it on to you," she said.
New York on Sunday officially ended the requirement people inside health care facilities wear a facemask, a move that has been debated by hospital leaders and union officials in the health care field.
Hochul pointed to overlapping vaccination rules for health care workers, such as receiving flu shots.
"Right now, we will continue to have the COVID vaccine be required to work in a health care facility in the state of New York," she said.
New York health officials have sought to shore up the ranks of the state's health care workforce over last year, offering bonuses as well as more training and degree programs at the state's public colleges and universities. Hochul wants to grow the state's health care workforce overall by 20% over the next five years.
A loss of health care workers in the last several years has been blamed, in part, on burnout due to the pandemic as well as attrition from the vaccine requirement.