New York Governor Kathy Hochul has stated that the recent overturn of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers will not lead to the return of unvaccinated individuals to their roles in the industry. This comes as the state is facing an ongoing healthcare staffing shortage, with some emergency room patients waiting for hours and even days for a bed in certain regions.
The state’s highest court declared the mandate, which required hospitals and nursing homes to develop policies enforcing vaccinations, to be “null and void” nearly two weeks ago. The mandate was first implemented by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2021, and was later extended by Hochul. However, while state health facilities await guidance following the legal decision, Hochul has made it clear that the mandate will not be lifted.
“I think everybody who goes into a healthcare facility or nursing home should have the assurance, and their family members should know, that we have taken all the steps to protect the public’s health,” Hochul said. “And that includes making sure that those who come in contact with them at their time of most vulnerability, when they are sick or elderly, will not pass on the virus.”
It is estimated that the mandate led to the loss of nearly 34,000 healthcare workers in the state, due to a mixture of terminations and resignations. Hochul acknowledged the staffing shortage crisis but emphasized that the safety of patients must be prioritized. She also indicated that she is considering options to challenge the overturning of the mandate.
In her recent State of the State address, Hochul proposed measures to attract and retain healthcare workers, such as raising pay and improving workplace infrastructure.
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