5,000 employees at New York’s public hospitals were not vaccinated by term of office

New York City health officials said more than 5,000 employees of the city’s public hospital system had not been vaccinated because a statewide vaccination mandate came into effect. force Monday for healthcare workers, leaving them unable to report to work and be paid.

Meanwhile, in another sign of tangible repercussions, representatives of the state’s largest private medical provider, Northwell Health, said it had fired about two dozen unvaccinated workers for missing the deadline and was considering terminate others who may not have been vaccinated. time.

Last weekend, New York Governor Kathy Hochul prepared for tens of thousands of healthcare workers across the state to refuse vaccinations. Counts from last week suggest that up to 16% of hospital workers were not yet vaccinated. On Monday, Hochul announced that she had signed an executive order that would allow her to deploy National Guard medical personnel and bring in other replacements such as retired doctors and nurses.

“My desire is that the people who have been there continue to work in their jobs, safely,” she said Monday at a press conference in the Bronx. “To all the other healthcare workers who are vaccinated, they also deserve to know that the people they work with will not make them sick. “

But city officials have played down the impact of the shortages at its public hospitals, saying they should not affect patient care. The 5,000 tally represents about 12% of the total workforce of 43,000 people in the city’s public health care system, which includes 11 hospitals and more than 70 community clinics.

“These are figures that we can support,” insisted Mayor Bill de Blasio during his daily press briefing. City health commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi added that he believed hospitals would be able to overcome staff shortages “without a major impact on patient care.”

Dr Mitchell Katz, head of the city’s public hospital system, said the number of 5,000 was an estimate on Sunday night, but he hoped it could decline further on Monday. “If someone comes in to do their shift today, we’ll send them to the immunization clinic, and if they get the vaccine, then they can go to work,” Katz said.

He said he did not plan to put hospital staff on leave, which could be a step towards dismissal, but would give them time to consider getting vaccinated. Either way, they will not be allowed to work and will have to forfeit their salary. A spokesperson for the city’s public hospital system did not immediately respond to a request for a breakdown of unvaccinated employees by job and facility.

Northwell had previously said he was prepared to lay off unvaccinated employees. Hospital officials said last week they identified a few hundred unvaccinated workers who were then contacted and called back for the vaccine. Of its more than 77,000 employees, about 10 percent had not yet been fully immunized last week.

“But we are taking even stricter measures to ensure the safety of our staff and, more importantly, the well-being of our patients and the communities we serve,” wrote Andrea Mineo, spokesperson for Northwell Health, in a statement. “As a healthcare system, we are committed to vaccinating all of our staff beyond the state mandate to include both our clinical and non-clinical staff.”

According to Mark Levine, chairman of the New York City Council health committee, most of the unvaccinated hospital workers in the city’s hospitals were non-clinical staff. He said hospitals had prepared in advance for Monday’s tenure by hiring additional staff to replace him temporarily.

“Today the system is working pretty well,” Levine said, adding that “it might get more difficult in the long run”.

A similar mandate that was due to be implemented on Monday for employees of the New York City Department of Education was postponed after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction on Friday night.

Gwynne Hogan contributed reporting. An earlier version of this story indicated that Northwell Health laid off a dozen employees after the tenure began. It was closer to two dozen.

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