CBS News

New York’s state mandate ordering health care workers to get the COVID vaccine went into effect Monday at midnight.

Some hospital networks including Northwell Health have already fired more than two dozen health care workers. Others will have 30 days to get a COVID vaccine or lose their jobs.

Officials say 16% of the state’s hospital workers are not fully vaccinated, which means more than 83,000 are at risk of termination.

Steven Corwin, the president and CEO at New York-Presbyterian Hospitals, one of the largest systems in the country, said he believes a mandate is needed to get everyone fully vaccinated.

Before its own vaccination deadline last week, 30% of staff were unvaccinated. But after the deadline, less than 1% refused the shot and resigned.

“So out of 48,000 employees and affiliated physicians, we have less than 220 that have not chosen to get the vaccine,” Corwin told CBS News’ Errol Barnett.

At Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, about 5% of the staff, roughly 400 people, are unvaccinated and on leave.

“We stopped elective inpatient surgeries. We stopped some of our outpatient patient visits. We stopped ICU medical transfers from other referral rural hospitals…We’ve asked for more time to work on strategies with the state to ensure that as many people as possible get vaccinated,” said Tom Quatroche,  the president  and CEO of Erie County Medical Center.

At a press conference Monday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced plans to send national guard troops to short-staffed hospitals like ECMC.

But some health care workers are suing the state over the mandate, including nurse Deborah Conrad.

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“I’m wearing the same exact PPE I’ve worn the whole pandemic and it’s always kept myself and patients safe. Why has that changed?” she said.

The Western New York nurse said she still feels uncomfortable taking the shot despite medical data that has been released that the vaccines offer strong protection against severe illness.

One thought on “83,000 hospital workers could be fired under N.Y. vaccine mandate”
  1. If this vaccine is so great and needs to be mandated why are certain groups excluded? Over 600K postal workers excluded WHY? It’s not going to work if people think the system is rigged. More and more breakthrough cases of vaccinated people are showing up so who is going to protect the patients from them? From what I understand they are not going to be tested.

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