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Northwell Health says it's requiring new employees to get COVID-19 shots

Long Island-based Northwell Health, which employs 76,000 across

Long Island-based Northwell Health, which employs 76,000 across 23 hospitals and 830 outpatient practices, said nearly 75% of its employees are vaccinated. Credit: Howard Simmons

Northwell Health, the largest health system in the state, is mandating that new employees get vaccinated and plans to launch a requirement that unvaccinated employees be tested regularly.

This comes as employers nationwide grapple with whether to require workers to get the vaccine against the coronavirus as they reenter the workplace.

"As New York State's largest private employer and health care provider, we believe it is our obligation to set an example for the community by getting our team members vaccinated," Northwell stated.

New York-Presbyterian health system on Friday said it was mandating all its 48,000 employees to be vaccinated by Sept. 1. The Manhattan-based system does not operate hospitals on Long Island, but Northwell Health does, though the New Hyde Park-based system said it was not "mandating the vaccine" for current employees.

The hospital system, which employs 76,000 across 23 hospitals and 830 outpatient practices, said nearly 75% of its employees are vaccinated. And Northwell noted that volunteers at its hospitals are required to be vaccinated.

Rockville Centre-based Catholic Health said it continues to encourage employees to get vaccinated, though there's no mandate in place.

"Although Catholic Health has no current plans to make the vaccine mandatory for employees, we have taken steps to ensure the safety of patients and staff members across the health system," Dr. Jason Golbin, the health system’s chief medical officer, wrote in a statement.

The level of vaccinated hospital workers in New York was 72% as of June 9, the most recent update from the state. Long Island's hospital workers were vaccinating at a slightly higher rate than the state, with 75% having completed their vaccine series.

Nationally, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by employees of a Houston hospital system over its requirement that all of its staff be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Houston Methodist Hospital system suspended 178 employees without pay last week over their refusal to get vaccinated. Of them, 117 sued, seeking to overturn the requirement and over their suspension and threatened termination.

In a ruling Saturday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston deemed lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges' contention that the vaccines are "experimental and dangerous" to be false and otherwise irrelevant. He also found that her likening the vaccination requirement to the Nazis' forced medical experimentation on concentration camp captives during the Holocaust to be "reprehensible."

With AP