Cuomo urges mandatory vaccines for teachers, health care workers

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Gov. Cuomo is suggesting schools, hospitals and nursing homes consider mandatory vaccinations.

As the delta variant ramps up across the country, Cuomo is suggesting, but not mandating, local governments to follow new Centers for Disease Control masking guidelines.

With 24.5% of New Yorkers still unvaccinated, the governor says suggested masking policies are just the start.

"I don’t believe a mask policy is going to be enough. I think we’re going to have to talk about a vaccination policy," said Cuomo.

The governor’s already announced a vaccine and testing policy for state workers, but he’s suggesting other professions follow suit.

That includes teachers and healthcare workers who deal with lots of people every day.

"How many kids does a teacher interact with during the course of a day? Thirty, forty, a hundred, hundred and fifty? That child can get the virus and go home. Why shouldn’t the teacher be vaccinated," asked Cuomo. "If the teacher doesn’t want to be vaccinated, fine, but then don’t be in front of a classroom if the numbers go up."

Cuomo says mandatory vaccines for nursing home workers, and other public facing workers, should also be considered.

"If you are a receiving nurse, receiving doctor and people are coming in from the public, and you’re dealing with dozens of people, maybe hundreds of people, you should be vaccinated," said Cuomo.

"Everything should be on the table, and we should start talking about it now, because if these numbers rise and start to rise quickly, it can’t be that we’re not ready to move."

New York State United Teachers released this statement:

"We have advocated since the beginning of the year that any educator who wants a vaccine should have easy access to one. We would support local efforts to encourage more vaccinations, such as through programs that require that those who are not vaccinated get tested on a regular basis. But it’s critical that districts come up with plans to make testing available on-site and at no cost. What we have not supported is a vaccine mandate."