(WETM) – Hospitals in New York could be heading towards a staffing crisis. Healthcare workers have under three weeks to get their first dose of the vaccine, or they will lose their jobs.
“While this vaccine mandate proposed by the governor I do believe is well-intentioned, however, I think it’s going to be counterproductive,” said Steuben County Public Health Director, Darlene Smith.
The healthcare industry is already experiencing staff shortages and there are many indications that a large number of unvaccinated staff are prepared to lose their jobs.
“You think it’s a nursing shortage now, wait until this is done,” said healthcare worker, Sam Bennett.
Protests continue across the state and COVID cases continue to rise. Steuben County is averaging over 50 new positive cases per day, according to Smith, this is a significant increase from last month.
New York Department of Health has allowed school officials who are not vaccinated to test weekly. Public health officials are urging the state for a testing option like this for healthcare workers.
“It’s a good alternative to the proposed mandate because it would still protect patient’s safety, it would respect their personal rights of healthcare workers, and honestly to ensure that our medical system is as prepared as possible for the increase in COVID cases,” said Smith.
Even vaccine protestors even seem to be fine with this proposition.
“When it comes to things [weekly testing] like that, I’m all for it…It’s just the forcing of vaccination that I have a problem with,” said Bennett.
Hospitals and nursing homes might be forced to reduce their capacity if they lose significant amounts of staff.
“Who’s going to take care of those that are sick…This one mandate will inevitably will lead to another completely different public health crisis and that is not enough healthcare workers,” said Smith.
Vaccine mandate protestors are organizing another rally this Sunday in Troy, Pennsylvania. Where prominent Republicans, such as former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon have taken notice of their cause and will be speaking at Sunday’s event.