NY Set To Lose Up to 70,000 HealthCare Workers Due to Vaccine Mandates

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • New York state has mandated healthcare workers be vaccinated.

    • There are about 70,000 healthcare workers that are not vaccinated, 16% of the total amount of healthcare workers.

    • Governor Kathy Hochil signed an executive order declaring a statewide disaster emergency due to healthcare staffing shortages in the state of New York.

  • Reflect On:
    • Do vaccine mandates that cause a greater shortage in the medical system really improve the safety of those in need of health services?

    • If one of the most vaccinated countries, Israel, also has a high infection rate, how does this support mandating vaccines to end the pandemic?

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New York Governor Kathy Hochil signed an executive order declaring a statewide disaster emergency due to healthcare staffing shortages in the state. This comes after mandating that all healthcare workers have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 27, 2021. 

The estimated number of workers that have not been vaccinated is around 70,000, about 16% of the 450,000 total number of healthcare workers. 

With this enacted, Hochil will be able to deploy members of the national guard, retired healthcare workers or those with a lapsed licence and bring in people from other locations in order to support the facilities that lose staff due to the mandates.

“We want to stop this virus dead in its tracks, we want it over, we want it done. And the only way to do that is to ensure everyone is vaccinated but particularly individuals who are taking care of people who are sick,” said Hochil at a press conference. 

A source of The Pulse, who wishes to remain anonymous, is an emergency medical doctor who supported the emergency use authorization of the vaccine. He does not widely oppose vaccines, however, shared some thoughts with us on why he doesn’t think we can vaccinate our way out of the pandemic.

“The day that Israel had their surge while they were the most vaccinated country, that was the day that I realized this is over, it doesn’t matter if those infections are in the unvaccinated, how can countries expect to be better than the most vaccinated country in the world?… You would have to come up with the most absurd rationale of why it didn’t work in Israel but would work here. This whole thing of get vaccinated to end the pandemic, that can’t happen because we saw that it didn’t happen.”

-A source of The Pulse

Major media outlets have addressed the issue of healthcare workers not getting vaccinated with the notion they are uneducated, or selfish.

However, there may be other factors or considerations at play when dealing with those not taking the shot.

“So what these nurses know, they know several things but if they have been working in the hospital for like 10 years they have seen drugs get approved and then cancelled. They have seen drugs that come and then we stopped giving them because we learn it’s not good, or it causes harm,”

-A source of The Pulse

Our source also mentioned that through observational experience, healthcare workers are assessing their risk of COVID versus this new vaccine in a different way than someone who just watches the news and has no first hand experience seeing who is most affected by COVID infection.

“The youngest people that are coming into the hospital who typically they are saying have no health problems are morbidly obese, and they have no hypertension or diabetes. There is no diagnosis. So they are calling them healthy, because they have no disease because obesity is not a disease it is part of a metabolic syndrome.”  

-A source of The Pulse

Healthcare workers are assessing their own personal risk-benefit ratio of the vaccine based partially on observational data. As well, many healthcare workers have been exposed and infected with COVID-19 and they now have natural immunity which could be proven with an antibody test.

There are many questions around the quality of care patients are getting in the healthcare system at the moment, and an assessment of risk-benefit ratio around vaccine mandates needs to be considered.

Does losing a portion of healthcare workers in a system that is traditionally understaffed in order to make sure everyone is vaccinated going to save more lives than it costs?

In 2016 a study done by researchers at John Hopkins Medicine suggested the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S is medical malpractice. The researcher wrote an open letter to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention asking them to add medical errors to the yearly report of the top causes of death.

If there is already evidence that errors by healthcare workers are a major contributing factor to people dying, what will the impact be in losing a portion of that workforce? Will they be asked to handle even more than they can already? What will happen if you replace practiced ER nurses with those less experienced in that area of medicine?

And finally where is the scientific analysis that supports losing 16% of your workforce saves more lives than 16% of the workforce being unvaccinated?

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