© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A nurse receives one of the first vaccines at Mount Sinai Hospital from Pfizer BioN Tech during the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US December 15, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri / Phi
Written by Nathan Lane
(Reuters) – New York Governor Cathy Hochhol is considering hiring the National Guard and medical workers from outside the state to fill a hospital staff shortage with tens of thousands of workers potentially losing their jobs for failing to meet a Monday deadline for an imposed coronavirus vaccination. .
The plan, outlined in a statement from Hochul https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/preparation-monday-vaccination-deadline-governor-hochul-releases-compopped-plan-address on Saturday, would allow it to authorize an emergency to increase supply From health care professionals to licensed professionals from states and other states as well as retired nurses.
Hoshol said the state is also considering using National Guard officers with medical training to keep hospitals and other medical facilities staffed appropriately. The governor’s office said about 16% of the state’s hospital staff of 450,000, or roughly 72,000 workers, were not fully vaccinated.
The plan comes amid a broader battle between state and federal leaders pushing for vaccine mandates to help counter the highly contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus and workers who oppose vaccination requirements, some on religious grounds.
Hochul attended Sunday mass at a large church in New York City to ask Christians to help promote vaccines.
“I want you to be my messengers. I want you to come out and talk about it and say, ‘We owe each other,'” Hochhol told worshipers at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, according to an official transcript.
“Jesus taught us to love each other and how to show that love but to care about each other enough to say, please get vaccinated because I love you and I want you to live.”
Hochhol’s office said health care workers who were fired for refusing to get a vaccination will not be eligible for unemployment insurance unless they are able to submit a valid, doctor-approved application for medical housing.
It was not immediately clear how the pending legal cases related to religious exemptions would apply to the state’s plan to move forward and terminate unvaccinated health care workers.
A federal judge in Albany has temporarily ordered New York state officials to allow religious waivers from the state’s mandated vaccine for health care workers, which was established by former Governor Andrew Cuomo and takes effect Monday.
A requirement to vaccinate school teachers and staff in New York City was temporarily blocked by the US Court of Appeals just days before it went into effect. Wednesday’s session is set.
The highly transmissible delta variant has led to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the United States that peaked in early September and has declined since, according to a Reuters count https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR. Deaths, a belated indicator, continue to rise as the state has reported an average of about 2,000 deaths per day over the past week, most of them in the unvaccinated.
While cases nationwide are down about 25% from their peak in the fall, the rise in new infections in New York has only recently plateaued, according to a Reuters tally.
In an effort to better protect the most vulnerable, the CDC on Friday supported a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions and adults in high-risk work and institutional settings.
On Sunday, the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walinsky, identified people who should be eligible for the booster shots based on their work in high-risk settings.
“This includes people in homeless shelters, people in group homes, people in prisons, but also most importantly, people who work … with vulnerable communities,” Walinsky said during a TV interview. “So our health care workers, our teachers, our grocery workers, our public transportation employees.”
Walensky decided to include a broader range of people than was recommended Thursday by a group of the agency’s outside advisers. The director of the CDC is not obligated to follow the advice of the committee.