Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski) and his colleagues in the Minority Conference called on Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker to reconsider the recent vaccine mandate that will likely result in severe job losses and diminished care in New York’s healthcare industry.
Through an order issued by the Department of Health (DOH), New York state is requiring all workers in healthcare settings receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27 or face termination. Nurses, ambulance workers, emergency room staff and countless other caregivers who have not been vaccinated could be forced out of work despite their heroic efforts throughout the pandemic.
The letter to Gov. Hochul and Dr. Zucker states: “While we encourage voluntary vaccinations and safe environments for our medical staff and their patients, our primary concern, the one that has been echoed by so many professionals in the field, is that with an estimated 20 to 25 percent of healthcare workers unvaccinated, we will be facing numerous resignations or firings by the September 27 deadline. Losing approximately one-quarter of frontline caregivers to a blanket government mandate will decimate the workforce and compromise our safety net at a time when we need our healthcare professionals the most. These are the very workers who served on the frontlines during the height of the pandemic when there was so much uncertainty. We should thank them, not punish them.”
A copy of the letter is available here.
“Increasing the vaccination rate across New York is critical, however it’s completely counterproductive to undermine healthcare services with a unilateral order that removes caregivers from facilities,” Leader Barclay said. “Many of the same women and men who got us through the pandemic are now facing the threat of losing their jobs. Heavy-handed mandates from Albany caused chaos throughout the pandemic, now we’re facing a self-inflicted workforce crisis by using an approach that will put patients and providers at risk.”