Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers will likely create staff shortages around the United States, echoing the recent warnings of some hospital chief executives.
“We have seen that these vaccine mandates get more people vaccinated,” Walensky said during a “Good Morning America” appearance on Sept. 27. “It absolutely creates a challenge. What I would say is [we need] to do some work … to meet them where they are, to understand where their hesitancy is so we can get them vaccinated and get them back to work.”
During the interview, Walensky didn’t offer a definitive plan to address the potential shortfall of health care workers.
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a Sept. 25 statement that she may direct medically trained members of the state’s National Guard to replace health care workers who resign or are terminated due to the state’s vaccine mandate. The governor also floated the idea of using out-of-state nurses, accredited workers from other countries, or tapping retired nurses who have been vaccinated to replace them.
The deadline for New York state’s health care workers to receive the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine was Sept. 27. According to the governor’s office, about 16 percent of the state’s medical workers haven’t received the vaccine.
Earlier this month, Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Gerald Cayer said the Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, New York, won’t have the capacity to deliver babies in the near future after six employees at the firm’s maternity ward resigned instead of taking the vaccine.
“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” Cayer said at a news conference on Sept. 10.
A federal judge on Sept. 14 temporarily suspended the statewide vaccination mandate for health care workers after a group filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that their Constitutional rights were violated because religious exemptions weren’t allowed.
Last week, 10 individual state hospital security officers filed a lawsuit against Hochul, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, and the New York State Health Department and are seeking the option of regular COVID-19 testing instead of being forced to receive the vaccine.