New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that a small percentage of health care workers have been fired or have resigned after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the state’s mandate.
During a news briefing on Wednesday, Hochul revealed between 94 percent and 97 percent of staff at hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities and home health agencies have gotten at least one dose since she took office in late August.
However, not all workers have been inclined to get vaccinated, leading to some being let go or walking out.
‘We have numbers that show we are at a three percent total workforce reduction in these categories,’ Hochul said during the briefing.
‘It includes people who have been terminated, resignations, people who just decided to retire at the time, but also people who are on furlough who are waiting to see the outcome of the litigation.’
That means about 25,000 people are no longer health care workers in New York state.
The litigation Hochul spoke about is in reference to a federal judge ruling on Tuesday that New York must grant health care workers religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate, which the state is appealing.
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul said during a press briefing on Wednesday (above) that 3% of health care workers in the state – about 25,000 people – have been fired, resigned, retired or on furlough for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19
In hospitals, 96% of workers have received at least one dose of the vaccine and, in nursing homes, 97% have gotten at least one shot
New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers was split in two parts.
The first required the 450,000 employees at hospitals and 145,400 employees at nursing homes to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, September 27.
The mandate was announced by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo in August, and was upheld by Hochul when she succeeded him.
It was one of the first – and one of the largest – such mandates to be announced in the U.S.
Data, shared by Hochul during the press briefing, appeared to show that the mandate was successful.
On August 24, when Hochul took office, 77 percent of hospital staff had been fully vaccinated.
By the time the mandate went into effect, 87 percent were fully vaccinated. As of Wednesday, 96 percent have had at least one dose.
Similar, 71 percent of nursing home staff members had received at least one dose on August 24. By September 27, that figure was raised to 92 percent.
Currently, 97 percent of employees have been given an initial dose of the vaccine.
‘When someone is sick and they go into an urgent care center, they go to a hospital, they are in need of help because they are in a vulnerable physical state,’ Hochul said at the briefing.
‘They need to know that the person taking care of them will not pass on this deadly virus to them or their family members – and that has been the whole objective behind this mandate.
‘It’s not something we wanted; it’s something this pandemic has forced us to do.’
Data also showed 96% of adult care facility workers and 94% of home health agency employees have gotten an initial dose of the vaccine
It comes a day after a judge ruled that employers must grant religious exemptions to health care workers who apply for them. Pictured: Sandra Lindsay (left) a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine by D. Michelle Chester in Queens, New York, December 2020
The second part of the mandate looked at home health care workers at assisted living homes, hospice care, treatment centers, AIDS home care programs and more.
These groups, made up of about 250,000 people, had until October 7 to prove they had received at least one dose of the vaccine or risk termination.
Hochul shared more data showing the uptake in Covid vaccines occurred in these groups as well.
Among adult care facilities workers, 77 percent had received at least one dose as of August 24, which increased to 95 percent on the day the mandate went into effect.
In home heath care agencies, 83 percent had received at least one dose by October 6 and 86 percent by October 7.
As of Wednesday, 96 percent of adult care facility workers and 94 percent of home health agency employees have gotten an initial shot.
Additionally, Hochul said 0.5 percent of healthcare workers have currently made appointments to get vaccinated so they don’t lose their jobs.
‘The numbers speak for themselves. I think that the mandates have brought people to the right decisions,’ she said.
Hochul recently suffered a setback in her effort to uphold the vaccine mandate when a federal judge said on Tuesday employers must grant religious exemptions to New York health care workers who apply for them.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge David Hurd came after 17 Catholic and Baptist workers sued last month.
They said they objected to the use of fetal cell lines in the development of vaccines.
Fetal cell lines, which are laboratory-grown cells based on aborted fetal cells that were collected in the 1970s and 1980s, were used for research and development of the shots, but no aborted tissue is an ingredient in the vaccines.
Upon hearing the news of the ruling, Hochul vowed to fight the decision.
‘My responsibility as Governor is to protect the people of this state, and requiring health care workers to get vaccinated accomplishes that. I stand behind this mandate, and I will fight this decision in court to keep New Yorkers safe,’ she wrote in a statement