New York to mandate COVID vaccine boosters for healthcare workers

The workers will have to get the booster shot within two weeks of eligibility
Ten states file lawsuit attempting to block vaccine mandate for health care workers

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday that healthcare workers will be required to get a COVID-19 booster shot.

The Democratic governor said during a press conference that New York healthcare workers will have to get the booste within two weeks of eligibility. For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that means two months after the first shot. Those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be eligible to get the booster five months after their second shot.

"It's the best way to protect themselves and to protect the people they care for," Hochul said. "That's why it's time and important to now add on a continuation of this effort to protect people, to protect the workers and to protect the integrity of our healthcare system."

The booster mandate comes after Hochul's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in September. Only medical exemptions will be available for workers, and there is no test-out option.

The governor said she discussed the decision with New York Health Commissioner Mary Bassett. The health commissioner will meet Tuesday with New York's Public Health and Health Planning Council, an independent body, regarding the new mandate. Hochul expects the council will give a "swift approval" of the mandate.

She also said the mandate is the result of the state pulling out all the stops to save lives amidst the pandemic.

"We need to make sure we are doing everything we can," Hochul said.

New York is joining California and New Mexico in mandating booster shots for healthcare workers, the Associated Press reported.