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“It’s a big deal”: Unvaxxed Healthcare workers take toll on NY hospitals



Eligible hospital workers who choose to be unvaccinated are causing financial pain and patient inconvenience across the Empire State.

It’s now mandatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, but not all are willing to roll up their sleeves.

In another blow to New York’s hospital sector, eligible healthcare workers who choose to be unvaccinated risk suspension and even dismissal as President Joe Biden ramps up efforts to mandate vaccines across the country.

As a result, hospitals across the state are facing staff shortages with some surgeries to postpone elective procedures or curtail services.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says concerns continue to escalate for other parts of the state where vaccination rates are lower, with Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo suspending elective inpatient surgeries and no longer accepting external ICU patients.

Spokesperson for the center, Peter Cutler says hundreds of unvaccinated employees are facing termination, largely inconveniencing patients and hurting hospital finances as they prepare to lose millions of dollars to cancelled elective surgeries.

“We had to make a decision as to where we could temporarily make some changes so that we could ensure other areas of services are as little affected as possible,” Cutler says.

“Financially, it’s a big deal.”

Fortunately, some have reached full compliance

Meanwhile spokesperson JoAnne Cavanaugh for one of the largest healthcare providers in the state’s west, Catholic Health, says hospital staff have reached full compliance.

Those who remained unvaccinated without a legitimate exemption, faced suspension without pay.

Cavanaugh refused to state how many workers were suspended and the number of employees granted exemptions based on medical or religious grounds.

Healthcare workers warned since August

Healthcare workers from the Empire State were issued an order by the health department in August that vaccines were mandatory for all employees.

They had until today to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, rushing hospitals to put a rush on inoculating their employees.

Those that choose to remain unvaccinated and are fired from their position as a result, won’t be eligible for unemployment insurance unless able to provide a valid doctor-approved request.

Of the 43,000 employees at New York’s 11 public hospitals, 5,000 eligible staff remain unvaccinated, Dr. Mitchell Katz, head of NYC Health and Hospitals says.

Written by Rebecca Borg

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