Vaccine Mandate Prompts Emergency Actions By New York’s Governor

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ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – New York Governor Kathy Hochul says she’ll sign an emergency order to call in the National Guard and import health care workers from other states and countries to ease an anticipated staffing shortage at hospitals and nursing homes due to a midnight COVID-19 vaccination deadline.

FILE – In this Wednesday, May 27, 2020 file photo, Medical personnel adjust their personal protective equipment while working in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan in New York. Hospitals and nursing homes in New York are bracing for the possibility that a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers could lead to staff shortages when it takes effect Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Doctors and nurses — and also support staff, like food service workers and cleaners — have been given until Sept. 27 to get at least their first vaccine shot in one of the nation’s most aggressive plans to protect patients. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

84% of health care workers in the state are already vaccinated. If the 16% who are not immunized against Covid don’t comply with the mandate by the end of the day, existing staffing shortages are expected to get worse. Some hospitals are already postponing elective surgeries.

Hochul says she’s taking immediate action to respond.

“I will be signing an executive order to give me the emergency powers necessary to address these shortages where they occur,” Hochul said, during an appearance in the Bronx on Monday.

The order will waive some existing regulations and allow licensed health care professionals in other states and countries, as well as retired workers and recent graduates to practice in New York. Visa requests will be expedited to help foreign workers arrive in New York more quickly.

The governor says she will also deploy medical professionals in the National Guard to help out, and her staff will be working with health care faculties around the state to determine where the greatest shortages are anticipated.

Hochul issued a last minute plea to unvaccinated workers, saying the crisis is completely avoidable. She says those who are refusing to be immunized are putting additional burdens on their vaccinated colleagues.

“Please do the right thing,” Hochul said. “Your employers are anxious to just give you the jab in the arm, and say ‘you’re part of the family, we need your help, continue on’”.

Under the governor’s plan, unvaccinated workers who are terminated from their jobs will not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

The mandate faces legal challenges. A provision that would not allow unvaccinated workers to claim a religious exemption is on hold, pending a court hearing. That means workers who can document that their religion prevents them from getting a vaccine will be allowed to do so for the time being.

Also, the vaccine mandate for 5600 employees of the state’s court system is on hold, because their union, the Civil Service Employees Association, has claimed in occur that the requirement is subject to collective bargaining. A hearing will be held October 1st.

And, several security guards at state run hospitals are calming in court that the mandate violates their constitutional rights. Former state Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who is now in private practice, says his clients want the option of regular testing instead.New York Governor Kathy Hochul says she’ll sign an emergency order to call in the National Guard and import health care workers from other states and countries to ease an anticipated staffing shortage at hospitals and nursing homes due to a midnight COVID-19 vaccination deadline.

84% of health care workers in the state are already vaccinated. If the 16% who are not immunized against Covid don’t comply with the mandate by the end of the day, existing staffing shortages are expected to get worse. Some hospitals are already postponing elective surgeries.

Hochul says she’s taking immediate action to respond.

“I will be signing an executive order to give me the emergency powers necessary to address these shortages where they occur,” Hochul said, during an appearance in the Bronx on Monday.

The order will waive some existing regulations and allow licensed health care professionals in other states and countries, as well as retired workers and recent graduates to practice in New York. Visa requests will be expedited to help foreign workers arrive in New York more quickly.

The governor says she will also deploy medical professionals in the National Guard to help out, and her staff will be working with health care faculties around the state to determine where the greatest shortages are anticipated.

Hochul issued a last minute plea to unvaccinated workers, saying the crisis is completely avoidable. She says those who are refusing to be immunized are putting additional burdens on their vaccinated colleagues.

“Please do the right thing,” Hochul said. “Your employers are anxious to just give you the jab in the arm, and say ‘you’re part of the family, we need your help, continue on’”.

Under the governor’s plan, unvaccinated workers who are terminated from their jobs will not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

The mandate faces legal challenges. A provision that would not allow unvaccinated workers to claim a religious exemption is on hold, pending a court hearing. That means workers who can document that their religion prevents them from getting a vaccine will be allowed to do so for the time being.

Also, the vaccine mandate for 5600 employees of the state’s court system is on hold, because their union, the Civil Service Employees Association, has claimed in occur that the requirement is subject to collective bargaining. A hearing will be held October 1st.

And, several security guards at state run hospitals are calming in court that the mandate violates their constitutional rights. Former state Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who is now in private practice, says his clients want the option of regular testing instead. He says that alternative is available to the state’s teachers, if they don’t want to get vaccinated.

“In this instance the health care workers are being treated in a disparate fashion,” Vacco said. “Because their choice is vaccination or termination.”

The vaccine requirement for health care workers is not the only state issued mandate enacted by Hochul. Home health care workers, employees of hospice and everyone who works at an adult care facility must be vaccinated by October 7th or they too, will lose their jobs. He says that alternative is available to the state’s teachers, if they don’t want to get vaccinated.

“In this instance the health care workers are being treated in a disparate fashion,” Vacco said. “Because their choice is vaccination or termination.”

The vaccine requirement for health care workers is not the only state issued mandate enacted by Hochul. Home health care workers, employees of hospice and everyone who works at an adult care facility must be vaccinated by October 7th or they too, will lose their jobs.