ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Monday is the deadline for health care workers in New York State to receive their first vaccine dose. With the health care industry already dealing with staffing shortages, some are uncertain what tomorrow will look like.
“We are taking all the steps preemptively in anticipation of what I call a preventable staffing shortage,” said Governor Kathy Hochul who is signing an executive order that will allow her to deploy medically trained National Guard members, retired health care workers, recent grads, and those licensed in other states and countries to step in over the health care worker vaccine mandate.
She’s also working with the federal government to try to “expedite visa requests” for medical workers as well.
New York State Public Employees Federation President Wayne Spence says while he hopes the Governor’s plan is sufficient, he doesn’t think it will be. “I don’t think there are enough people to go around to plug the holes because a lot of nurses have left New York State as of last year,” Spence said.
United University Professions President Fred Kowal says when it comes to tomorrow’s potential impacts, there are a lot of unknowns. “We support the Governor’s mandate. The vaccine mandate I think is an appropriate step and a necessary one in the fight against COVID. At the same time, what we are looking at is potentially hundreds and hundreds of health care professionals and support staff not being at their workstations starting tomorrow,” Kowal said.
After a legal challenge, a judge put a temporary restraining order on the mandate in place for those claiming a religious exemption.
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