Vaccine mandate for NY health care workers takes effect Monday; staff shortage possible


NEW YORK — New York state’s vaccine requirement for all hospital workers and nursing home employees takes effect Monday, and Gov. Kathy Hochul said she’s ready for a possible staffing shortage.

Monday is the deadline for all New York health care workers to have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

About 84% of hospital employees are fully vaccinated, according to state data.

Many health care workers have still not yet received a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine days before the deadline. That leaves the prospect of potentially thousands of health care workers being forced off the job next week.

The governor is prepared to declare a state of emergency, which would allow health care workers from other states and countries, as well as recent graduates and retirees, to practice in New York.

Another option? Deploy medically trained National Guard members as well as federal disaster assistance teams.

“We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal,” the governor said in a statement.

Northwell Health, the city’s largest health care system promised that patient care will not be impacted by the vaccine mandate.

Health care workers who are fired for refusing the vaccine will reportedly not receive unemployment benefits unless they provide a valid doctor-approved request for medical accommodation. 

Health care workers in homecare, hospice and adult care facilities will need to receive at least their first dose of the vaccine by Oct. 7.

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