NY COVID vaccine mandate prompted 55,000 medical workers to get vaccinated

New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for medical staff has prompted an estimated 55,600 people to get vaccinated over the past week, bringing the partial vaccination rate in hospitals and nursing homes to 92%, according to statistics released by Governor Kathy Hochul.

For hospitals, about 41,500 workers chose to be vaccinated to avoid losing their jobs, according to the figures, while about 13,000 nursing home workers did the same. Another 1,100 workers in adult care facilities were also vaccinated between September 20 and Monday’s vaccination mandate deadline, bringing their overall rate to 89%.

“This new information shows that holding firmly to the immunization mandate for healthcare workers is simply the right thing to do to protect vulnerable family members and loved ones from COVID-19,” Hochul said in a statement. Tuesday.

While Hochul’s big bet that many unvaccinated medical workers would meet the mandate in part paid off, around 35,600 workers were still on the verge of quitting their jobs in hospitals, nursing homes and institutions. care for adults to avoid getting vaccinated, fueling concerns about staff shortages at some facilities.

This reflects the loss of nearly 5% of the overall workforce of about 692,000, according to the governor’s office. The warrant required medical workers to receive at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Monday evening.

In other words, about 25,400 hospital workers were medically eligible for vaccines but refused to do so, while about 8,200 nursing home workers did the same.

For adult care facilities, around 2,000 workers were medically eligible for vaccines but declined the vaccines.

A fraction of the workforce in hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities, less than 1%, received medical exemptions, the governor’s office noted.

Yet the mixed results of the vaccination mandate have left some hospitals and nursing homes statewide scrambling to find replacement medical workers.

As a result, Hochul signed a decree on Monday evening, in part, to streamline the hiring of vaccinated workers from other states and countries, as well as recent graduates and retirees.

“I continue to monitor developments and stand ready to take steps to alleviate potential situations of staff shortages in our health systems,” Hochul said Tuesday.

NY COVID vaccine mandate:Thousands of medical workers have received injections to keep their jobs. And after

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What Health Executives Say About New York’s Vaccination Mandate

New York has closed many mega-sites for vaccines, including one at Crossgates Mall in Albany.

Some hospital leaders this week declared victory in meeting the goal of making healthcare facilities safer by reducing the risk of the spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated staff.

Other health care providers have suspended unpaid vaccines, urging them to reconsider their decision and get vaccinated to resume their work on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“Hospital staff have responded to the governor’s call to do the right thing and get vaccinated overall,” said Wendy Darwell, President and CEO of the Suburban Hospital Alliance, Tuesday. .

“A fully immunized workforce is the best option for patients, other health workers and the community,” she added.

Yet the fallout from the loss of workers for some hospitals, especially small community hospitals, remained unclear on Tuesday, Darwell added, citing how some facilities continued to warn patients of delays in accessing elective surgeries and d other medical services.

“There are definitely hospitals upstate and scattered around the state that currently have a real staff shortage that they are managing,” she said.

The tense showdown also gained national attention as other states planned to promulgate similar vaccine mandates for medical workers soon, and the Biden administration was set to promulgate. a national mandate to immunize health workers in the coming weeks.

Health executives noted that the looming prospect of a federal mandate may have contributed to the surge in vaccinations for medical workers in New York City, citing how this has all but eliminated the ability for employees to flee to other states without mandate.

“It really level the playing field,” Darwell said.

The Healthcare Association of New York State, which represents many hospitals in the state, also announced on Tuesday a partnership with Nexxt, a recruiting technology company, to help New York healthcare providers recruit new workers.

In New York City, the public hospital system had about 5,000 of the 43,000 workers, or about 11%, had not yet been vaccinated by Monday’s deadline. City officials said on Tuesday they expected the percentage of unvaccinated to drop as some workers backtrack and get shot.

“People keep coming in and getting vaccinated. So vax mandates clearly work, ”said Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of the system, at a press briefing. Still, the city’s hospitals have hired 500 nurses to fill the staffing gaps caused by the warrant, he added.

“We knew that no matter how hard we tried, some people weren’t going to get vaccinated, and we planned appropriately,” Katz said, adding that the staff issues were being picked up and “didn’t look like nothing like the horror we experienced in March 2020 “in the midst of the initial pandemic peak.

Following: Hochul signs executive order to expand health workforce under COVID vaccine mandate

What you need to know about NY’s COVID vaccine mandate

Volunteer nurse Amy Schlegel, right, administers one of 100 COVID-19 vaccines for the day at New City Pharmacy on Thursday, February 4, 2021.

Estimates of the number of medical workers keeping and losing their jobs in New York City due to the vaccination mandate were based on figures provided by the governor’s office.

He cited a unique survey of the Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Adult Care Facilities Electronic Health Response Data System on Monday to determine the immunization status of workers at the time.

On Tuesday, Hochul, who replaced former Governor Andrew Cuomo last month after his resignation, released figures showing nursing homes and hospitals overall achieved a partial vaccination rate of around 92%, which means that workers had received at least one dose to comply with the mandate. .

The Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two doses to be fully effective based on federal guidelines. And the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine recently gained federal approval for booster injections for people 65 and over, as well as other age groups depending on underlying health issues and high risk jobs.

Final self-reported immunization data for hospital workers is updated weekly on a state-run website and due Wednesday. Data from self-reported nursing homes on Monday showed a partial vaccination rate of 89%.

In mid-August, when Cuomo announced the mandate, the governor’s office noted that there were approximately 450,000 and 145,000 workers in hospitals and nursing homes, respectively. It was not immediately clear on Tuesday why the Hochul administration cited a higher hospital staff total or 519,000.

Following: These New York officials just got court order to block impending vaccine warrant

Hochul’s figures also noted that Monday’s survey found that between 1% and 3.5% of staff in medical facilities were going to be vaccinated but were waiting for the first doses, suggesting that some workers in staggered shifts will soon receive medication. vaccines.

While the final vaccine count for medical workers is calculated in New York City, a new national survey has suggested that workers’ concerns over the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 have also contributed to the vaccine surge.

Among the results of a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, or KFF, on the main reasons for getting vaccinated:

  • 39% of adults cited the increase in COVID cases due to the Delta variant, compared with 38% saying local hospitals were filling up and 36% who knew someone who became seriously ill or died.
  • 35% also say that a top reason was to participate in activities where vaccinations are mandatory, such as traveling or attending events.
  • Only 19% say being mandated by their employer prompted them to get the vaccine, while 15% cited the Food and Drug Administration as giving full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.

“Nothing motivates people to get vaccinated like the impact of seeing a family member, friend or neighbor die or become seriously ill with COVID-19, or fear that your hospital may not save your life if you need it ”KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said in a press release.

“When a theoretical threat becomes a clear and present danger, people are more likely to take action to protect themselves and their loved ones,” he added.

Still, the spike over the past week in New York in medical workers getting vaccinated suggested that the warrant played a critical role in convincing them to get the shot. The percentage of hospital workers rose from 84% to 92%, while nursing homes rose from 83%.

Meanwhile, the national survey also found that self-reported vaccination rates increased the most for Hispanic adults, increasing 12 percentage points to 73% in September, and among adults aged 18 to 29, in increase of 11 percentage points to 68%.

Similar proportions of adults are now reporting being vaccinated across all racial and ethnic groups, a sign that the racial gap in vaccinations may be narrowing, the foundation noted, and a trend reflected in New York State data.

Following: NY COVID vaccine mandate: Thousands of medical workers received injections to keep their jobs. And after

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David Robinson is the state health care reporter for the USA TODAY Network New York. He can be contacted atdrobinson@gannett.com and follow up on Twitter:@DrobinsonLoHud

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