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Hochul says New York will move forward with vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

Governor Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that New York will move forward with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

Health systems across the state said they would need to shutter entire departments and delay elective surgeries if the mandate took effect on September 27. That’s when healthcare workers must have one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or face termination.

“We’ve been alerted that there’s a hospital in Lewis County that may not be able to deliver babies,” Hochul said. “I checked. Every baby that is supposed to be delivered in Lewis County has been properly delivered. I’m not going to let this be a problem for the state of New York. I will ensure that we have the resources. And people are required to have temporary staffing plans, anyhow. Hospitals are required to have a game plan.”

There will be no testing option for healthcare workers, Hochul added.

As for the lawsuit that resulted in a federal judge temporarily blocking implementation of the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers seeking a religious exemption, Hochul said she was unaware of any that would apply.

“I’m not aware of a sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion,” Hochul added. “In fact, they are encouraging opposite. They’re encouraging their members, everybody from the pope down is encouraging people to vaccinate. So people will simply choose.”

She called mandates smart, especially in the healthcare.

Rallies have been held across the state at large and small hospitals with healthcare workers calling on the state to not implement the vaccine mandate.