In a somewhat shocking reversal, New York State has scrapped a COVID vaccine mandate for some Empire State residents.

A mandate requiring healthcare workers across New York to receive their COVID-19 booster shot won't go into effect on Monday as originally planned.

Health officials announced to avoid any potential staffing issues and to allow for more time to get boosted the healthcare worker booster requirement won't go into effect on Feb. 21.

"The vaccine and booster are critical tools to keep both healthcare workers and their patients safe, and we continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated and receive a booster dose when eligible," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett stated. "While we are making progress with 75% of staff received or are willing to receive their booster, the reality is that not enough healthcare workers will be boosted by next week's requirement in order to avoid substantial staffing issues in our already overstressed healthcare system. That is why we are announcing additional efforts to work closely with healthcare facilities and ensure that our healthcare workforce is up to date on their doses.

Olena Hololobova
Olena Hololobova
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At least 75-percent of healthcare workers have received or are willing to receive the booster, according to the New York State Department of Health.

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The State will continue to work closely with hospitals and healthcare facilities to make sure employees are up to date on their vaccines. Efforts will focus on expanding access for healthcare workers to receive a booster dose, including bringing boosters directly to healthcare settings.

Jeffrey Hamilton
Jeffrey Hamilton
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In order to avoid potential staffing issues and give healthcare workers more time to get boosted, the State will no longer enforce the booster requirement that will go into effect on February 21, officials say. The State will reassess in three months whether additional steps need to be taken to increase booster rates among the healthcare workforce. The original vaccination requirement for healthcare workers remains in effect.

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