The state of New York faces a looming crisis as the vaccine mandate deadline threatens to create a shortage of thousands of hospital staffers refusing to get the shot.
According to the New York Times, roughly 84 percent of New York’s “450,000 hospital workers and 83 percent of its 45,400 nursing home employees had been fully vaccinated,” indicating that tens of thousands of people will either be fired or laid off when the vaccine mandate deadline for healthcare workers hits Monday, September, 27. Facing those kinds of shortages, certain hospitals will have no choice but to cut back or ration certain procedures.
In Buffalo, the Erie County Medical Center plans to suspend elective in-patient surgeries and 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.
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 this week, more than 200 employees faced termination because they had not.
Weekly virus testing will not be allowed under the current mandate for people who refuse the vaccine.
“This is creating an unprecedented crisis for us,” said Tom Quatroche, the Erie County Medical Center Corporation’s president. “I think we need more time to comply, and I’ve asked for that. For all the right reasons, the vaccine mandate was put in place. But the reality is it is creating a public health crisis in hospitals, with nobody to care for patients.”
Despite the coming crisis, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has remained firm in her directive and will possibly go as far as to “look into recruiting temporary workers from the Philippines or Ireland.” Hospitals in the state will also employ “emergency staffing plans that they typically reserve for natural disasters,” such as filling vacancies with volunteers, students, and retirees.
“What is looming for Monday is completely avoidable, and there’s no excuses,” Hochul said of the deadline.
Healthcare workers have since fought back by filing a lawsuit to get the mandate lifted.