New York State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett
New York State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Long-term care workers in New York won’t be forced to get a COVID-19 booster shot, the state’s top health official said. 

State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett on Friday announced that New York will no longer enforce its booster requirement for healthcare workers in order to avoid potential staffing issues and give them more time to get the third shot. The requirement was set to go into effect on Monday. 

Multiple states, including California, New Mexico, Connecticut and New Jersey, have required boosters for nursing home staff.

“While we are making progress with 75% of staff received or … willing to receive their booster, the reality is that not enough healthcare workers [would be] boosted by [the] requirement [deadline] in order to avoid substantial staffing issues in our already overstressed healthcare system,” Bassett said in a statement

“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,” she added. 

New York’s 75% boosted rate is higher than the national average of 69.2% among nursing home staff.

The state plans to work closely with both healthcare facilities and hospitals to get employees up-to-date on their vaccine shots. Efforts will also focus on expanding access for healthcare workers to receive a booster, which will include bringing boosters directly to facilities. 

“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,” Bassett said.