Another Staffing Shortage Feared as Vax Mandate for NY Home Aides Goes Into Effect – NBC New York

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About 250,000 home health aides across the state of New York were required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Friday.

Thousands of patients who need at-home services could be left without care because many of those health workers have refused to get the shot. According to the Visiting Nurses Service of Suffolk, at least six of its employees have said they won’t get vaccinated as required by the state. The mandate isn’t the only thing pushing some health care workers to get inoculated, CEO Linda Taylor said.

“We’ve seen the reaction of families that they don’t want us to come in if we’re not vaccinated,” said Taylor, whose agency cares for about 3,000 patients. “They knew that come today, they would not be employed here if they could not be vaccinated.”

A recent industry survey found that as many as 12,000 workers could decline the vaccine, and that will leave vulnerable people without any help, the Home Care Association of New York State said.

About 250,000 home health aides across the state of New York are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Friday. NBC New York’s Checkey Beckford reports.

“They’d go from being staffed today to way understaffed tomorrow,” said HCA president Al Cardillo.

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Hospitals and nursing homes across the state faced the same threat of understaffing last week when the vaccine mandate went into effect for them. However, a small number of employees were suspended or fired for not having gotten the shot and hospitals largely appeared to avoid dire staffing shortages so far.

Kenneth E. Raske, president of The Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents 140 hospitals and health systems around New York, said a “substantial influx” of workers received a shot the day of the deadline.

Statewide, about 92% of hospital and nursing home staff had received at least one dose as of the vaccine as of last week, according to figures from Hochul’s office. The number of home health aides who have gotten the shot is not clear.

New York’s vaccine mandate for health care workers doesn’t include a religious exemption, but because of legal challenges, courts have temporarily barred employers from enforcing the mandate against people with a sincerely held religious belief against vaccination.

The city is considering expanding its vaccine mandate to include New York’s Finest, New York’s Boldest and New York’s Bravest. Andrew Siff reports.

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