Home Health care provider Nurses discuss impact of New York State’s immunization mandate on healthcare system

Nurses discuss impact of New York State’s immunization mandate on healthcare system

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Healthcare workers fear this will cause an even greater shortage of workers, which will ultimately have a ripple effect as Monday’s deadline approaches.

BUFFALO, NY – Healthcare workers in nursing homes and hospitals statewide must be vaccinated by Monday or may be unemployed.

As Monday approaches, even nurses who were already vaccinated are starting to worry.

“Vaccinated health workers will always try to help those who need help in these hospitals or nursing homes and they may not have the staff to support them,” said Candace Bliss.

Bliss received the vaccine as soon as it was available and is a nurse in Wyoming County. She has seen nursing students quit their programs before because they don’t want to be vaccinated.

“It’s really sad because it’s going to affect the future of healthcare,” Bliss said. “It is a scary time whether you are vaccinated or not.”

A Utica judge has temporarily blocked the warrant until Oct. 12 for healthcare workers who file for religious exemption, such as Catholic healthcare nurse Jillian Dobrzenski.

After October 12, she will be put on unpaid leave for 30 days and then fired. That is unless the judge sides with the health care workers who filed the complaint.

With many workers leaving on Monday, Dobrzenski doesn’t expect things to get any better for the state’s healthcare system.

“You take us away, this personnel problem is exacerbated. The patient is suffering, the community is suffering, and my vaccinated colleagues who still have work are suffering because they no longer have to work without our help,” said Dobrzenski.

Catholic health officials are not disclosing how many of their employees have requested a religious exemption.

Officials say the hospital system supports Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to go ahead with the mandate. This is because they say through science and data the vaccine has been proven to end the pandemic.

Catholic Health did not say how many workers have applied for a religious exemption, but 83% of workers are vaccinated there.

Meanwhile, Gov. Hochul said if the number of healthcare workers were not vaccinated enough by Monday, she would announce initiatives to help facilities cope with the shortages.

Local nurses aren’t sure the warrant is the answer.

“I think people should be vaccinated, but on the other hand, it’s such a difficult balance right now. I don’t know what the correct answer is. I don’t know if that’s that mandate,” Bliss said.