Zeldin, elected officials mobilize against hospital vaccine mandates

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) joined health workers to boycott Governor Kathy Hochul (D) ‘s vaccination deadline on September 27.

Zeldin, who is campaigning for governor, joined other elected officials outside the state building in Hauppauge on Monday, just hours before health workers were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before midnight or risk losing their job.

On Monday evening, Hochul signed an executive order to dramatically increase the eligible workforce and allow additional health workers to administer COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.

According to the mandate, if healthcare workers do not receive at least one dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the day on Monday – without medical dispensation or having already requested a religious dispensation – they will lose their jobs.

The congressman spoke on mandates, at local and national levels.

“Our healthcare workers have been nothing short of heroic over the past 18 months,” Zeldin said. “We should not be laying off these essential workers. We should thank them for everything they have done for our communities.

Zeldin called on Hochul to work with medical institutions and state health workers to “implement a more reasonable policy that does not violate personal freedoms, fire the health workers who have helped us through the worst days of pandemic and cause chaos and staff shortages at hospitals and nursing homes.

Hochul said this week that to fill vacant hospital positions, she plans to bring in the National Guard and other out-of-state health workers to replace those who refuse to be vaccinated.

“You are either vaccinated and can keep your job, or you are on the streets,” said Zeldin, who is vaccinated.

State Senator Mario Mattera (R-St. James) said he was angry when healthcare workers were given limited ability to negotiate the vaccine mandate through their unions.

“It’s not a state of emergency, like a hurricane,” he said. “It’s a state of emergency where people are made redundant and will not have unemployment insurance. I am a union leader. It is a shame for all Americans.

According to the state’s Department of Labor, unvaccinated workers who are made redundant will not be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits. A new Republican-led bill introduced in Albany would restore those unemployment benefits.

On Tuesday, the state released data noting that the percentage of hospital staff receiving at least one dose was 92% (as of Monday night) based on preliminary self-reported data. The percentage of people fully vaccinated was 85% on Monday evening, compared to 84% on September 22 and 77% on August 24.

“This new information shows that firmly holding the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers is simply the right thing to do to protect vulnerable family members and loved ones from COVID-19,” Hochul said in a statement. . “I am happy to see health workers getting vaccinated to keep New Yorkers safe, and I continue to monitor developments and stand ready to take action to alleviate potential situations of staff shortages in our systems. health.”

Long Island’s three health care providers have already implemented the mandate and are taking action.

Northwell Health, the state’s largest private employer and healthcare provider – and which includes Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson and Huntington Hospital – previously informed all unvaccinated team members that they no longer complied with New York State’s mandate to immunize all healthcare workers by the September 27 deadline.

Northwell regrets losing an employee in such circumstances, but as medical professionals and members of the state’s largest healthcare provider, we understand our unique responsibility to protect the health of our patients and each other. of others, “Northwell said in a statement. “We owe it to our staff, our patients and the communities we serve to be 100% vaccinated against COVID-19. “

Catholic Health Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Jason Golbin said in a statement the supplier is “incredibly proud of the dedication of our staff to protecting the health and safety of the people of Long Island during the COVID-19 pandemic. and is grateful for their heroic efforts over the past 18 months.

He added, “In keeping with our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our patients, visitors, medical staff and employees, we respect New York State’s mandate to immunize all healthcare workers.”

Golbin said that as of Tuesday, September 28, the vast majority of staff were fully immunized with only a few hundred people on leave at six hospitals, three nursing homes, home health care, hospices and other practices. medical.

Stony Brook University officials added that Stony Brook medicine has prepared for the New York state mandate, all healthcare workers receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. ‘here is the deadline.

As of 8 p.m. on September 28, 94.07% of Stony Brook Teaching Hospital employees have been vaccinated, and that number continues to rise, 134 Stony Brook Teaching Hospital employees are suspended without pay and will have to meet working relations. representatives to discuss their situation. While waiting for this meeting, they can use vacation or time off. If they continue to choose not to receive the vaccine, they will be terminated as per the NYS DOH order.

Less than 1% of the total population of hospital employees are on probationary employment and although they are currently suspended without pay, they are still eligible to be vaccinated before their dismissal is processed and could always go back to work.

Officials said those numbers are fluid and expect further declines.

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