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Healthcare workers protest statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate at hospitals: Will it change New York’s mind?

A significant group of healthcare workers in the Finger Lakes region has been protesting upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandates, which take full-effect on September 27.

That’s when all healthcare workers in New York who are employed by a hospital, nursing home, or other designated healthcare facility will need to have the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“You get the shot or you’re out of here, and you don’t get the vacation you earned, you don’t get any chance for unemployment,” Amanda Coakley, a physical therapist at Rochester General told News10NBC.

It’s true. The state has imposed the rule, which must be enforced by hospital systems large- and small. Those who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine will not be eligible for unemployment.

Employment law experts say it’s a simple matter of being terminated ‘for cause’. By refusing the vaccine, those experts who practice employment law daily say it’s a matter of willfully violating a company policy.

Even though its imposed by the state- it doesn’t make the rule any less significant.

“Once the mandates occur, once the people are let go, those are consequences of this mandate proposal, there is no returning after that,” Robert Curr, an employee of UR said during a protest. “When people’s livelihoods are threatened in such a manner and they’re forced to do something they really don’t believe in or lose your job, it’s been tough.”

So far the state has shown no signs of relenting on vaccine mandates as they are now just two weeks away from taking full-effect.