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Facing Deadline, More NY Health Care Workers Vaccinate

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2020, file photo, a droplet falls from a syringe after a person was injected with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

ALBANY (AP) — Thousands of health care workers in New York faced with either getting the COVID-19 vaccine or losing their jobs received at least one dose as the statewide mandate neared, according to state figures.

Workers at hospitals and nursing homes had until Monday to get their first vaccine dose under the new requirement, sparking fears among administrators that holdouts would create dramatic staff shortages.

Gov. Kathy Hochul released figures late Monday showing vaccination rates rising among the state’s 450,000 hospital workers and for other healthcare workers. The figures were released as she signed an executive order providing her with expanded powers to alleviate staff shortages.

By Monday evening, 92% of nursing home staff received at least one vaccine dose. And preliminary data showed 92% of hospital staff receiving at least one dose of vaccine, the governor said.

On Wednesday, state figures showed 84% of hospital workers fully vaccinated.

The executive order allows out-of-state doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to practice in New York, makes it easier for retirees to return to the workforce, and allows physician visits in nursing homes to be done by telemedicine.

Also, New York state-licensed providers without current registrations will be able to practice without penalty. And the order broadens the roles of emergency medical technicians, such as allowing basic EMTs to vaccinate and test for COVID-19.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press.

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