With almost half of the state’s nursing home workers not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, New York’s Department of Health has begun putting more pressure on the facilities to bridge the gap, according to an article this week in the New York Post. A letter from the state Department of Health, however, says that its guidance applies to adult care facilities/assisted living facilities, which differ from nursing homes.

In an effort to boost the number of vaccinated adult care facility workers, the agency issued new guidance requiring every such facility to offer “an opportunity to receive” the COVID-19 vaccine to all consenting residents and staff by April 29 and within seven days of a new hire or a new admission.

Both staff and residents who decline to be vaccinated for COVID-19 must sign paperwork acknowledging that they were offered the vaccine and chose to opt-out. This paperwork also must ensure that if someone later decides to be vaccinated, it is the signer’s responsibility to request that the facility arrange for the vaccination.  

Facilities that don’t comply with the new rules may be penalized up to $2,000 per violation, the DOH said.