Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor, State of New York
Kathy Hochul is sworn in as New York State's first female governor, August 24, 2021. Holding the bible was her husband, First Gentleman Bill Hochul.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Monday that she will deploy medically trained National Guard troops to replace unvaccinated healthcare workers in the state’s hospitals.

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The move follows an order issued last month by the New York State Health Department, mandating all healthcare workers to get at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by September 27.

Some 5,000 out of 43,000 healthcare workers in New York City’s 11 public hospitals were not vaccinated, according to NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation director Dr. Mitchell Katz.

He said during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily news conference that unvaccinated workers would have a chance to get their first shot when they arrived for work on Monday, but if they refused they would be sent home without pay.

“To all of our health care workers who’ve been vaccinated – I thank you for stepping up to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy,” she said.

“Last night, I took bold action and signed an executive order that will alleviate potential staffing shortages in our hospitals and other health care facilities across New York State,” Hochul said Tuesday in a tweet.

“I’m talking with leaders across the state – hospital administrators, local government officials, health care groups, and more – to let them know they have our full support as they navigate potential preventable staffing shortages,” she added in a separate tweet.

As of Monday evening, 92 percent of nursing home staff, 89 percent of adult care facility staff and 92 percent of hospital staff had received at least one vaccine dose “according to preliminary self-reported data,” Hochul said.

The state’s largest hospital system, Northwell Health – which operates Lennox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens – confirmed that it fired approximately 24 unvaccinated managers on Monday.

Northwell Health has some 76,000 employees.

“A few hundred unvaccinated leaders were contacted last week to take urgent action in regards to getting the shot,” a Northwell spokesperson said in a statement reported by the New York Post. “About two dozen of them who were still not vaccinated were exited from the system.”

Some hospitals in the state have been forced to postpone elective surgeries and/or curtail other services due to the staff shortages caused by the mandate.

New York is the first US state to implement a health care worker vaccine mandate.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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