Vaccination deadline arrives for NY healthcare workers

Shyrel Ritter, a certified nursing assistant at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, receives her COVID-19 booster shot at her workplace in New York, Monday
Shyrel Ritter, a certified nursing assistant at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, receives her COVID-19 booster shot at her workplace in New York, Monday

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — As the deadline closed in for hospital and nursing home workers in New York state to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Kathy Hochul made an 11th-hour plea to holdout health care workers to get inoculated.


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“To those who have not yet made that decision, please do the right thing,” Hochul said at a press briefing. “A lot of your employers are anxious to just give you the jab in the arm and say you’re part of the family, we need your help to continue on.”

Hospitals and nursing homes braced for the prospect of severe staff shortages fueled by workers getting suspended or fired for refusing to be inoculated. Some hospitals began taking actions against holdout workers by Monday. And with thousands of workers still thought to be holding out, administrators around the state prepared contingency plans that included cutting back on noncritical services and limiting admissions at nursing homes.

Hochul said she will sign an executive order that will allow her to call in medically trained National Guard members and retirees, or vaccinated workers from outside the state, to fill any gaps. The governor has held firm on the mandate in the face of pleas to delay it and multiple lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.

Hochul said health care workers in New York state at hospitals and nursing homes are required to be vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of Monday. Employees who refuse the shots face suspensions and termination.

The rules apply not just to people like doctors and nurses, but also to others who work in health care institutions, like food service workers, administrators and cleaners.

The Erie County Medical Center Corporation in Buffalo said about 5% of its hospital workforce has been put on unpaid leave due the mandate, along with 20% of staff at its nursing home.

The state’s largest health care provider, Northwell Health, said it has begun removing unvaccinated workers from their system.

About 84% of over 450,000 hospital workers in New York were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, according to state data. Nursing home data, which was through Sunday, showed about 89% of nursing home workers fully vaccinated.

Some individual hospital systems reported higher rates.

Northwell Health said nearly 100% of its workforce was vaccinated. The New York City’s hospital system reported a 95% rate for nurses and a higher rate for doctors.

“I feel good, very good about our ability to have the staffing we need in the public hospitals,” said Mitchell Katz, head of the city’s public hospital system.

The mandate comes as hospitals are already reeling from staff shortages fueled in part by workers retiring and employees seeking other jobs after 18 months of the pandemic.

Health care workers can apply for a religious exemption, at least for now. A federal judge on Oct. 12 will consider a legal challenge arguing that such exemptions are constitutionally required.


Associated Press writers Marina Villeneuve in Albany, New York, and Michelle R. Price in New York contributed.


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Categories: News


NY and other states need to do what Reagan did in 1981 with the air traffic controllers and let them all go, no unemployment, suspend their various licenses and certifications, and go work elsewhere. We’re trying to stop the continual spread of this disease, constant lock-downs, and overburdening of hospital ICU’s and staff, and the very people who are directly affected by massive hospitalizations from unvaccinated persons, are fighting getting the vaccine! Perhaps these people should NOT be in healthcare because they only seem to care for themselves as I see it. It’s going to hurt for the public for a bit, but this is a time for all to pitch in and do all we can to help others instead of being selfish. Who are these workers actually HELPING in not getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their patients?

Why, they’re heroes, Bill. For the cause of Freedom! Freedom Fighters! Rebels without a clue! It’s about personal choice for all! Especially themselves!
And not a trivial amount of anti-Democrat animus…

But you’re right on all counts. These are apparently health workers who don’t understand basic concepts, like “contagious”. If they still resist, firing and license termination are in order.

These heroes who worked long hours with no vaccine in highly deadly Covid wards during the height of the pandemic are now being fired for refusing a vaccine that if you consider everyone vaccinated and everyone that has natural immunity we have passed the rate of heard immunity. We have someone that’s worse than Cuomo running the state now, did you see the picture of her, our governor with four other people standing maskless behind five children with masks on, what a hypocrite.

So when the unvaccinated show up at area hospitals begging for modern medicine to save them when they could’ve avoided hospitalization, I hope they find comfort in their ‘freedom’ as the overworked staff (those ‘heroes’ that did the right thing) place a tube down their wind pipe in a vain attempt to keep them alive due to their stubbornness and outright stupidity against this virus. Your DOCTOR should be the only one advising you on whether you should get the vaccine or not and stop making everything about politics.

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