Many hospitals and nursing homes in New York are fearing staff shortage now that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate ends on September 27.
Hospital and nursing homes officials fear that many doctors, nurses, support staff, like food service workers and cleaners might not report to work since they could not comply with the vaccination mandate.
In view of the possible staff shortage, Northwell Health is keeping thousands of volunteers on standby.
“We would like to see some more time to be able to comply and implement the vaccine mandate, because at the end of the day it’s a situation where we’re very concerned about our ability to care for the patients,” said Tom Quatroche, CEO of the Erie County Medical Center Corporation, which operates a busy 573-bed hospital in Buffalo.
Quatroche said if 10% of its workforce, or 400 staff members, might still not be vaccinated by Monday, they plan to suspend elective inpatient surgeries, temporarily stop accepting ICU transfers from other institutions and reduce hours at outpatient clinics.
New York governor Kathy Hochul for her part said that the deadline will hold despite opposition from some health workers.
“Every single person who is in your care has the right to know that there is no chance they will be infected by the person in charge of protecting them and their health,” Hochul said.