National Guard could help alleviate any health care worker shortages caused by COVID-19 vaccine mandate in New York state

News & Politics

Members of the National Guard could help fill any gaps that arise in New York state’s health care workforce due to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, New York’s governor said.

“I will be signing an executive order to give me the emergency powers necessary to address the shortages where they occur,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Monday. “That’s going to allow me to deploy the National Guard who are medically trained,” as well as retirees who have had a license lapse, and workers from elsewhere.

A recent news release noted that as of Sept. 22, 84% of hospital employees in the Empire State had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Around 16%, or 72,000 individuals, had not been fully vaccinated, according to Fox Business.

The plan to contend with any staffing shortfalls “includes preparing to sign an executive order if necessary to declare a state of emergency that seeks to increase workforce supply and allow qualified health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York State,” the news release noted.

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“Other options include deployment of medically-trained National Guard members, and partnering with the federal government to deploy Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) to assist local health and medical systems. Additionally, Governor Hochul plans to work with the federal government and other state leaders to explore ways to expedite visa requests for medical professionals,” the release said.

Hochul became the New York’s first woman governor last month after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped down amid a chorus of calls for him to resign following the release of a report that found he had sexually harassed multiple women. Cuomo said that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

“According to the regulation issued by the State Department of Health, all health care workers in New York State, at hospitals and nursing homes, are to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the first dose received by Monday, September 27, and staff at other covered entities including home care, hospice, and adult care facilities are to be vaccinated by October 7,” the release also noted. “The regulation also applies to all out of state and contract medical staff who practice in New York State.”

At the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, Hochul recently called for people to urge others to get vaccinated.

“I need you to be my apostles. I need you to go out and talk about it and say, ‘We owe this to each other,'” she said, according to Fox Business. “Jesus taught us to love one another, and how do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, ‘Please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live.'”

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