Hospitals in New York have started firing and suspending employees who refuse to take COVID-19 vaccine. This has caused a shortage in skilled staff and led to postponement of surgeries.
A vaccine mandate has been enforced for healthcare and education workers in New York in order to push people to take the vaccine. Many citizens have refused to take the vaccine for religious and personal reasons.
"16% of the state's 450,000 hospital staff not fully vaccinated," Reuters reported. New York City mayor in a press conference expressed concern over the low vaccination rates.
New York's state health department issued an order last month mandating that all healthcare workers receive at least their first COVID-19 shot by 27 September, triggering a rush by hospitals to get their employees inoculated, ABC News reported.
As the deadline gets closer, hospitals are getting stricter and thus penalising their employees for not complying with the mandate. However, this has opened the hospitals to other problems – financial and logistical. Shortage of workers has caused delay in medical treatment and has led to subsequent loss of funds to the hospital management.
Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo suspended elective inpatient surgeries and stopped accepting intensive-care patients from other hospitals as it is preparing to fire hundreds of unvaccinated employees, a spokesperson, Peter Cutler, said. The decision to curtail some operations would inconvenience patients and hurt hospital finances. Elective inpatient surgeries bring in about $1 million per week, Cutler told Reuters.
To solve this problem, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Monday she would sign an executive order that will allow her to deploy medically-trained National Guard troops and retired healthcare workers, Forbes reported. She also maintained that those refusing to take the vaccine will not be provided with unemployment insurance unless they provide a certificate citing medical reasons for the refusal.
Those who are refusing to take the vaccine shots are doing so on religious grounds. There are also the ones who are scared of the side effects and are buying into rumours. Vaccine hesitancy also stems from the fact that there is little trust in institutions and the concept of vaccination, and there are people who do not think COVID-19 is a real threat anymore, Vox reported.
(With inputs from Forbes, ABC News, Reuters, and VOX News.)
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