Tens of thousands of unvaccinated New York health-care workers are set to be fired today as the COVID vaccine mandate takes effect today.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has declared a “State of Emergency” due health care staffing shortages.
The declaration will reportedly also allow workers from other countries, recent graduates, and retirees to practice in New York.
Due to the coming firings and staff shortages, the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo suspends elective in-patient surgeries and they will not take intensive-care patients from other hospitals because it may soon fire about 400 employees who have chosen not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Erie County Medical Center President Tom Quatroche says he looming staffing loss is an “unprecedented crisis.”
Quatroche tells the New York Times, “I think we need more time to comply, and I’ve asked for that... the reality is it is creating a public health crisis in hospitals, with nobody to care for patients.”
Gregory Serafin, a registered nurse at the Erie County Medical Center, says, “we give patients a Bill of Rights, and they are able to choose what procedures or tests or medications they want to put in their system. Health care workers deserve the same medical autonomy to make those decisions.”
Officials at Northwell Health, New York’s largest provider of health care, estimate that they might have to fire thousands of people who have refused to get vaccinated.
And while the vast majority of staff members at New York City’s largest private hospital network, NewYork-Presbyterian, had been vaccinated as of this week, more than 200 employees faced termination because they had not.
These are just a fraction of the workers at risk of losing their jobs or being put on unpaid leave after Monday, when a state directive requiring hospital and nursing home employees in the state to have received at least one shot of a virus vaccine takes effect.
As of Sept. 22, state data shows, around 84 percent of New York’s 450,000 hospital workers and 83 percent of its 145,400 nursing home employees had been fully vaccinated. But tens of thousands of people are estimated not to have gotten a shot despite being threatened with losing their jobs. The holdouts say they fear potential side effects from the vaccines, have natural immunity or believe that the mandate violates their personal freedom.
All this, completely avoidable.