Monday is the deadline for health care workers to be vaccinated to comply with New York’s mandate and the state is bracing for a worker shortage if the pledge to fire unvaccinated staff is carried out.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is considering calling on the National Guard and workers in other states to step up to fill the expected void.
“We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal,” Hochul said in a statement. “I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities.”
“I commend all of the health care workers who have stepped up to get themselves vaccinated, and I urge all remaining health care workers who are unvaccinated to do so now so they can continue providing care,” Hochul said.
The Democrat governor attended a church service Sunday at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, a mega church with a membership of more than 30,000, Reuters reported.
“I need you to be my apostles,” Hochul said. “I need you to go out and talk about it and say, ‘We owe this to each other.'”
“Jesus taught us to love one another and how do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live,” Hochul said.
Some 16% of the state’s 450,000 hospital staff, or roughly 72,000 workers, have not been fully vaccinated, the governor’s office said.
The plan comes amid a broader battle between state and federal government leaders pushing for vaccine mandates to help counter the highly infectious Delta variant of the novel coronavirus and workers who are against inoculation requirements, some objecting on religious grounds.
Healthcare workers who are fired for refusing to get vaccinated will not be eligible for unemployment insurance unless they are able to provide a valid doctor-approved request for medical accommodation, Hochul’s office said.
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