Vaccine mandates for health care workers take effect in NYC

Health care workers in New York, Texas, and other states are being placed on unpaid leave because they refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy of AP News

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

New York City is beginning to implement vaccine mandates for many employees and staff members of different work environments that involve personal interactions.

On Aug. 16, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all staff members in hospitals and long-term care facilities must have at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27 in order to keep their jobs.

Out of an estimated 650,000 health care workers, 92% of them have received at least one dose of a vaccine as of Oct. 4.

The number of unvaccinated people in the state dropped daily as health care workers continued to get the vaccine in order to keep their jobs.

One of the warnings Gov. Cuomo gave to those in the medical field was that those who refuse to get the vaccine will be placed on unpaid leave.

Marlborough, Conn., junior and pre-med student Brooke Almeida said she thinks it’s a two-sided issue.

“When you take away jobs from health care workers, you lose the capacity to house and treat more patients,” Almeida said.

She explained that although the vaccine mandate is intended to protect both health care workers and patients, it could potentially cause harm to those who seek medical care and are not attended to immediately because of a smaller staff.

“People who are involved in the health care field should understand that they, more than anyone, are the most exposed to COVID-19,” Peru junior and pre-med student Ariana Vera said.

Vera said since the city is very big, health care workers should understand that they are not being discriminated against; rather, they are being kept safe.

“I follow New York doctors on Instagram, and most of them measure the consequences of not getting the vaccine and being exposed to COVID-19,” Vera said.

There are many unvaccinated health workers, and several have filed federal lawsuits arguing that immunity from prior infection should be considered. Because of this, many have been granted the opportunity to have more time to consider getting the vaccine until Oct. 12.

New York City continues to take vaccine mandates into account and is now applying them to employees with other jobs. On Monday, the vaccine mandate for teachers and staff members went into effect.