New York prepares for possible staff shortages as COVID vaccine mandate for health care workers nears

As New York prepares to implement its COVID-19 vaccination deadline on Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul stated a state emergency declaration and different choices, together with calling in health care workers from the National Guard, are on the desk to handle any potential hospital staffing shortages. 

“I am monitoring the staffing situation closely and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities,” Hochul stated in a press release. “I commend all of the health care workers who have stepped up to get themselves vaccinated, and I urge all remaining health care workers who are unvaccinated to do so now so they can continue providing care.”

Hochul’s preparation plan contains signing an government order to declare a state of emergency to extend staff and to permit licensed health care professionals from different locations to work in New York. The plan additionally contains the potential deployment of medically-trained National Guard members, and the chance to expedite visa requests for medical professionals. 

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in August announced that each one healthcare workers should obtain no less than their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 27. The regulation, issued by the New York Department of Health, additionally applies to out of state and contract medical staff who observe inside New York. 

Those who’re fired due to their refusal to get vaccinated will not be capable of obtain unemployment insurance coverage with no legitimate medical lodging from a health care provider, in line with the Department of Labor. 

“This mandate will both help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the Delta variant,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker stated in a press release on the time of the requirement’s announcement. 

The Civil Service Employees Association, members of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association and a bunch of medical workers are amongst those that have filed lawsuits difficult the state’s vaccine mandates. 

“CSEA is supportive of efforts to keep our state workplaces safer, but these changes must respect the legal bargaining rights of workers,” communications director for the Civil Service Employees Association Mark Kotzin stated in a statement

Hochul stood by the approaching vaccine deadline, saying that “we will be replacing people” who refuse to get vaccinated,” in line with CBS affiliate WRGB-TV. “People who won’t get vaccinated are the one cause that this nation and these communities and our cities haven’t been capable of be absolutely engaged in a state of normalcy,” she said Wednesday. 

Many healthcare workers are already completely vaccinated. As of September 22, 84% of all hospital employees in New York were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Hochul’s office. For adult care facilities, 81% of staff were completely vaccinated, along with 77% of staff at nursing home facilities.

“I commend all the health care workers who’ve stepped as much as get themselves vaccinated, and I urge all remaining health care workers who’re unvaccinated to take action now to allow them to proceed offering care,” the governor stated. 

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