COVID-19 | New York State is testing mandatory vaccinations for caregivers and teachers

(New York) The COVID-19-ravaged state and city of New York are the first in the United States to experiment with compulsory vaccinations for caregivers and teachers, which has spiked injection rates despite a minority of unruly people.

Posted on Sep 29, 2021 at 7:27 pm

Andréa BAMBINO Agence France-Presse

As of Monday, all nurses and workers in the state’s public and private hospitals, nearly 520,000 people, must be vaccinated to go to work or their salaries will be suspended and they may be laid off.

The state’s Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, initially widened her eyes by promising to mobilize the National Guard to replace unvaccinated nurses, fearing a chaotic situation in the hospitals. Finally, she welcomed the fact that no health facility has been closed due to staff shortages since Monday, the day the commitment came into effect in the 20 million-inhabitant state, the fourth in the country.

COVID-19 has killed more than 56,000 people in the state since March 2020 – including 34,000 in New York.

Other states have to follow suit, such as California starting Thursday, but caregivers who reject the vaccine there keep the option to work by getting tested every week.

Kathy Hochul, who succeeded Andrew Cuomo on August 25, also hailed the rise in the number of fully vaccinated caregivers, which had reached 87% on Wednesday. For example, the percentage of nursing home workers who received at least one dose of vaccine increased from 71% on August 24 to 82% on September 20 and 92% on Monday.

For Kathy Hochul, before one of her first political tests, “shows that maintaining the compulsory vaccination for health workers is simply the right thing”, while the rule has been attacked several times.

Contrasting situation

There were just over 3,000 unvaccinated public health or hospital workers in New York City on Wednesday, up from a total of 43,000, up from about 5,000 at the beginning of the week and about 8,000 the week before, said Dr heads the city’s health care system.

“We have around 500 nurses available to replace those who have not yet been vaccinated or who have decided to retire. We haven’t fired anyone yet, ”he said, assuring that those who would receive their first dose when they got to work could do their duty normally.

“Our workforce is nearly 100% vaccinated,” said Northwell Health, a privately held company that operates 23 hospitals and more than 800 outpatient facilities in the state.

The group said that of 76,000 people, including 18,900 nurses and 4,800 interns, “a few hundred unvaccinated workers were contacted last week to make urgent arrangements for an injection”.

“Unfortunately, we had to remove a few hundred employees from the system who hadn’t been vaccinated on Monday,” added Northwell Health, without indicating whether they were layoffs.

But the situation is not the same in all hospitals in the state that stretches to the Canadian border.

He told AFP that Buffalo Hospital, which manages nearly 600 beds in the north of the state, had about 5% of its employees, or 167 employees, “take unpaid leave,” 20% in a hospital-based care service that still includes a hundred of the 474 employees have not yet been vaccinated.

The hospital therefore had to reprogram the least urgent interventions and reorganize its opening times.

The caregiver vaccination requirement is a trial balloon for New York City, ahead of that for teachers, whose entry into force has been postponed to Friday by court order.

“Until then, get your first dose or don’t come back to work on Monday.” The choice is yours, ”wrote Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio on Twitter.

Even though the majority of teachers are already vaccinated, teachers and school principals’ unions warn that applying the measure too brutally could disrupt schools.

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