New York sees increase in health worker vaccinations following mandate

A health care worker prepares a vaccine for administration at a vaccination clinic
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New York’s mandate for health workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has boosted the industry’s vaccination rate, and has not resulted in widespread facility closures and mass resignations like some state officials feared.

The requirement for hospital and nursing home staff took effect at the beginning of this week. According to state data, 87 percent of hospital staff were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, and 92 percent were partially vaccinated. Similarly, 92 percent of nursing home staff had received at least one vaccine dose.

State officials had been bracing for staffing shortages in advance of the mandate taking effect on Monday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) last week outlined a plan to deal with potential staffing shortfalls in facilities, including deploying medically trained members of the National Guard or declaring a state of emergency to allow health care professionals licensed in other states or countries to practice in New York.

But Hochul said no facilities have closed since the mandate went into effect.

Staff at other institutions including home care, hospice and adult care facilities must be vaccinated by Thursday.

New York was one of the first states to impose a vaccination requirement for health workers, and there’s increasing evidence that its mandates are also resulting in increased inoculation rates.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Friday said 90 percent of all Department of Education staff are at least partially vaccinated, including 93 percent of teachers and 98 percent of principals.

During an interview on MSNBC, de Blasio said he was confident the city’s vaccine mandate for teachers and school staff will not lead to shortages because the city has plenty of substitute teachers.

“Mandates work,” de Blasio said. “Had we not done the mandate a lot of people would have held back and our schools would have been less safe. There’s so much noise when you put a mandate forward. … The bottom line is when the dust settled a huge number of people went out and got vaccinated.”

When the mandate was announced in August, about 63 percent of school employees in the city were vaccinated. All employees have until the end of day on Friday to get at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, if they haven’t done so already.

The mandate is being challenged by a group of teachers, who on Thursday petitioned the Supreme Court to issue an injunction blocking the policy. Part of their argument is teachers are being treated differently from other public employees in the city.

Previously, teachers were subject to the same requirements as other city employees, which meant they would need to be vaccinated or face weekly testing. But that alternative was eliminated.

Tags Bill de Blasio Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine mandates healthcare workers Kathy Hochul New York teachers
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