ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State is facing multiple lawsuits over its vaccine mandate for health care workers. And it comes at a time where there are already staffing shortages in the industry.
“I believe that it’s critically important for our health care workers to be as healthy as they can before they attend to the health of others,” Governor Hochul said Thursday.
Monday is the state’s deadline for health care workers to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the overwhelming majority of these workers are vaccinated, the mandate has received some legal challenges.
One group of medical workers has filed a lawsuit for a religious exemption to the rule. A judge has put a temporary restraining order on the enforcement of the mandate until October 12th, but only for those claiming a religious exemption.
Meanwhile a separate lawsuit has been filed by some members of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association. They are state hospital security officers who say the mandate violates their constitutional rights.
Michael Balboni with the Greater New York Health Care Facilities Association says while every health care agency benefits from all residents and staff being vaccinated, the mandate could further exacerbate staffing shortages. He’s calling on officials to come up with an emergency staffing plan. “The deadline brings into sharp focus how prepared the health care industry is for thus type of potential on staffing,” Balboni said. Hochul has said she’s prepared to announce a “series of initiatives” to prepare for Monday if need be.
The Civil Service Employees Association is also challenging the state and won a court order to temporarily halt the mandate for non-judicial court system workers.