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01 Mar

March 2022: New York State Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Booster Deadline Will Not Be Enforced Temporarily

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New York State Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Booster Deadline Will Not Be Enforced Temporarily

Update Applicable to:
All employers who employ healthcare workers in the state of New York

What happened?
On February 18, 2022, the New York Department of Health issued a press release stating that they will delay the deadline for healthcare workers to become boosted against COVID-19.

What are the details?
The New York Department of Health stated that to avoid potential staffing issues and to allow New York healthcare workers more time to become boosted against COVID-19, the booster requirement that was to apply to all healthcare workers eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot will not be enforced on February 21, 2022, as originally announced.

The booster shot requirement was originally imposed when the state’s regulation requiring COVID-19 primary vaccinations, 10 NYCRR 2.61, was amended earlier this year to require a booster shot or supplemental doses of vaccine, as recommended by the CDC. The state subsequently updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission by Covered Entities Emergency Regulation to, among other things, clarify when a booster is recommended:

Q: If CDC Recommends a booster five months after the primary series, and five months after the primary series is April 1, 2022, what is the date by which personnel must get the booster?

A: Personnel have 30 days from the day they become eligible, so personnel in this example must get the booster by May 1, 2022. But see FAQ #26 below.

Q: Are there personnel who are not eligible for a booster or supplemental dose exactly five months after the primary series?

A: Yes, facilities may have to determine on a case-by-case basis when personnel should have received a booster or supplemental dose as recommended by the CDC. For example, certain personnel may need a temporary medical exemption from receiving a booster in connection with having tested positive for or having been treated for COVID-19. In such cases or other cases that require interpretation of CDC recommendations, personnel may not be eligible for the booster five months after the primary series. Facilities may have to exercise operational discretion to determine when personnel are eligible for a booster, provided that they require and communicate to their personnel that effective immediately, personnel must have received a booster or supplemental dose as recommended by the CDC, absent receipt of a medical exemption, and they have a reasonable system for documenting compliance with this requirement.

The state will reassess in three months whether additional steps are needed to increase the booster rate among healthcare workers.

For more information, please see the links below:

New York Department of Health Press Release

Healthcare Worker Booster Requirement FAQs

Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and continue their best to ensure their employees’ safety and compliance with the law by referring to their local health departments.

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