Vaxx mandate sets in, staff shortages loom in New York


As mandatory vaccination starts its enforcement in the state of New York, hospitals are preparing to fire thousands of healthcare workers for non-compliance with the mandate which took effect Monday.


NEW YORK — Hospitals in the city are not seeing any major impacts based on the mandate, said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. His concern is more directed at the hospitals in other areas of the state where vaccination rates are lower.

Staff shortages in these hospitals will impact especially the regular hospital schedules when staff shortages will be felt.

According to Catholic Health, one of the largest healthcare providers in Western New York, some elective surgeries will be postponed as it boosted its vaccination rate on Sunday afternoon, reaching 90 percent.

Meanwhile, the Erie Medical Center in Buffalo had to suspend elective in-patient surgeries. It said it will not accept intensive -care patients from other hospitals. The center is preparing to fire hundreds of unvaccinated employees, Peter Cutler, a spokesman said.

Curtailing some operations would hurt hospital financially to as much as $1 million per week, in addition to inconveniencing patients.

A decision had to be reached “as to where we could temporarily make some changes so that we could ensure other areas of services are as little affected as possible,” Mr Cutler said. “Financially, it’s a big deal.”

Battling the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus has pushed for government leader to use vaccine mandates to curb any further spread of the virus despite objections from workers who have aired varied reasons.

The state health department issued the order in August that required all health workers to receive at least their first COVID-19 shot by 27 September.

In New York City’s 11 hospitals, only about 5,000 are not vaccinated out of 43,000, according to head of NYC Health + Hospitals. He said 95 percent of the nurses were vaccinated and all of the group’s facilities are ‘open and functional’.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul considered employing the National Guard and out-of-state medical workers to fill staff shortages as 16 percent of the state’s 450,000 hospital staff are not fully vaccinated.

Those who will be fired for refusing to get vaccinated, Hochul’s office said, will not be eligible for unemployment insurance, unless a valid doctor-approved request for medical accommodation is provided.

Religious exemptions for the state-imposed vaccine mandate on healthcare workers is ordered temporarily until legal cases are clarified. (SA/Headline PH)

Featured image: A protest rally against mandated vaccination on 25 August 2021 in front of the New York City Hall. /Credit: USNews


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