MTA vaccine
July 28, 2021 - Albany, NY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo delivers remarks to a virtual ABNY meeting from Albany. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employees and New York staff at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will have to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to weekly testing by Labor Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The two massive public authorities run New York City’s subways, buses, tunnels, bridges, commuter rails which includes the Long Island Railroad, airports, and maritime port, and will follow the same requirements Cuomo announced for other state employees last week as the more contagious Delta variant of the virus spreads throughout the Empire State.

“If you are unvaccinated, Delta variant should be a major concern to you and you should be worried about it,” said Cuomo during an Aug. 2 press conference at his Manhattan office.

Cuomo introduced the state’s first governmental vaccine mandate last week, but only for “public-facing” workers as state-run hospitals.

Nearly 70 percent of the MTA’s 70,000-strong workforce has received the shot, according to recently appointed acting Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber. The agency suffered particularly badly during the health crisis, with 168 transit workers who died due to the virus.

MTA will reopen its vaccination sites for MTA employees, and the state will open new vaccination sites in areas with high concentrations of state employees, including two on Long Island:

  • Duryea State Office Building, Hauppauge

  • NYS Department of Labor, Hicksville

The state’s chief executive followed similar vaccine-or-testing mandates by Mayor Bill de Blasio for city workers and President Joe Biden for federal employees.

Long Island registered a 2.92 percent positivity rate across a seven-day average as of July 31, and the Delta variant accounted for about 72 percent of tested cases.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently changed its guidance recommending that even fully-vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings after researchers found that the Delta strain can also spread among people who got their shots.

However, the virus is much less likely to cause severe illness or death among vaccinated people.

Additional reporting by Briana Bonfiglio.

This story first appeared on amNY.com.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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