Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) indicated Monday that she won’t permit the hiring of health care workers who’ve declined to get the COVID vaccine, despite her vaccine mandate being overturned in the courts and a serious healthcare worker shortage.
A state Supreme Court judge in Syracuse last week struck down the statewide vaccine mandate for medical staffers. The mandate was first implemented by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) in 2021, and then Hochul supported the edict when she became governor.
“Our healthcare systems are in desperate need of staff right now, we’ve had ambulances waiting five hours at our local emergency rooms to unload patients,” Rochester-based reporter Jennifer Lewke told Hochul. “The hospitals and nursing homes say they’re waiting for DOH [New York State Department of Health] guidance on whether they can hire any of those workers back. What’s the latest on that?”
Hochul said she’s considering legal options to challenge the decision that overturned the mandate and highlighted recruitment efforts for more vaccinated healthcare workers.
The Democrat also acknowledged that the shortage is “a problem,” while claiming the answer is not to hire ousted unvaccinated workers. “I don’t think the answer is to have someone who comes in who is sick, be exposed to someone who can give them coronavirus, give them COVID-19,” the governor told Lewke. “I don’t know that that’s the right answer. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.”
“I think everybody who goes into a healthcare facility or nursing home should have the assurance, and their family members should know, that we have taken all steps to protect the public health and that includes making sure that those who come in contact with them at their time of most vulnerability, when they are sick or elderly, will not pass on the virus,” Hochul added.
Lewke again pressed the governor, “Couldn’t there be other safety precautions, masking? Or other mechanisms in order to allow some of them back in? I mean we’re at crisis level here in our hospitals and nursing homes.”
Hochul said she understood “the balance” but asserted that she “cannot put people into harm’s way, because when you’re going to a health care facility, you expect that you’re not going to come out sicker than you went in, I think that’s something every New Yorker would expect.”
Hochul is suggesting only unvaccinated people can pass along the virus, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s “likely that vaccinated people with breakthrough infection or people infected without symptoms can spread the virus to others.”
NY Gov. Kathy Hochul says she won't hire unvaccinated healthcare workers despite the mandate being overturned:
"I don’t think the answer is to have someone who comes in who is sick be exposed to someone who can give them COVID-19."pic.twitter.com/qy6UICxGd4
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) January 24, 2023
Related: NY Health Care Upended Over Vax Mandate: Hospital Stops Delivering Babies, ER Closes, Wait-Times Explode