Health Care

New York Mandates Vaccine or Weekly Testing for State Employees

New York will require state employees to present verification of vaccination or to submit themselves for weekly testing, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

In a Twitter statement, Cuomo said the directive will take effect by Labor Day and that his administration plans to collaborate with state unions to implement the program. Some unions, such as the American Federation of Teachers, and organized labor leaders have voiced their opposition to or outright rejected compulsory vaccine protocols, concerned that they could alienate their membership, Politico reported. Some have proposed state governments attempt better communication, persuasion, and incentives rather than coercion.

Cuomo added that patient-facing front-line healthcare workers, such as physicians and nurses, at state hospitals must be vaccinated with no exceptions or option for regular testing.

“Our healthcare workers carried us through this pandemic—and we owe it to them to do what we can to keep Delta under control. NYS will require patient-facing healthcare workers at State hospitals to get vaccinated to help keep both patients and workers safe,” he wrote.

As a new wave of COVID driven by the highly infectious delta variant spreads across the country, many progressive state governments are making vaccination a condition of employment. The delta virus accounts for the majority of new confirmed cases, according to the CDC.

Mayor de Blasio declared a vaccine mandate recently for New York City employees. President Biden revealed Tuesday at a press briefing that the administration intends to impose a vaccine mandate for the federal workforce. A source with direct knowledge of the move informed CNN that the announcement will happen on Thursday.

Governor Gavin Newsom said California is instituting a similar requirement applying to 246,000 state employees and two million health care workers in the public and private sectors.

The coming weeks will show whether unions or state workers will challenge the vaccine mandates in court and whether they will be upheld.

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