New York state health officials signaled Wednesday a requirement that health care workers receive the COVID-19 vaccination will end as pandemic-era rules more broadly are expiring. 

The announcement comes after years of legal challenges to the vaccine requirement, which resulted in health care workers who refused to receive the vaccine losing their jobs as a result. 

“Due to the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving vaccine recommendations, the New York State Department of Health has begun the process of repealing the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workers at regulated health care facilities," the state Department of Health said in a statement. "Throughout the public health emergency, this vaccine requirement served as a critical public health tool, helping to protect both health care workers and the patients under their care."

The rule was first put in place in August 2021 by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. After COVID-19 emergency orders lapsed in 2022, the state Dpeartment of Health adopted the requirement as a formal regulation. 

While the rule will no longer be enforced, individual health care facilities will be able to continue to implement their own internal policies for COVID-19 vaccination, the Department of Health said. 

The regulation's repeal also comes as the state is facing a mounting health care worker shortage in many regions, with hospitals sounding an alarm over an expiring rule that allowed the state to bring in out-of-state health care workers.