CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, on Monday, Sept. 27, said she supports mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers but acknowledged that the consequent labor shortages could be a problem.
“We have seen that these vaccine mandates get more people vaccinated,” Walensky expressed her enthusiasm for the enhanced vaccine campaign in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
According to the Hill, the deadline for healthcare workers in New York to be vaccinated went into force on Monday.
Despite Walensky’s enthusiasm for the mandate, some healthcare employees continue to refuse to get the shot.
“It absolutely creates a challenge. What I would say is [we need] to do some work … to understand where their hesitancy is so we can get them vaccinated and get them back to work.” — CDC director on the potential loss of health care workers as vaccine mandates take effect. pic.twitter.com/exVDbS6ARd— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 27, 2021
According to Reuters, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has suggested she may send in the National Guard and issue a request for out-of-state health care workers to assume the positions of the unvaccinated persons who may lose their jobs if they fail to meet Monday’s vaccine deadline.
The initiative comes amid a larger dispute between state and federal officials pushing for vaccine mandates to combat the highly infectious Delta version of COVID and also workers who are opposed to inoculation requirements, some for religious reasons.
“It absolutely creates a challenge,” Walensky said on GMA. “What I would say is [we need] to do some work, to educate these healthcare workers, to meet them where they are, to understand where their hesitancy is so we can get them vaccinated and get them back to work.”
According to the governor’s office, around 16% of New York state’s medical personnel, or 72,000 people, are still unvaccinated.
Hochul’s office stated that healthcare employees who will be dismissed for refusing to get vaccinated would not be eligible for unemployment benefits unless they can provide a valid doctor-approved request for a medical exemption, Reuters reported.
A federal judge in Albany has temporarily ordered New York state officials to allow religious exemptions to the state vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
A U.S. appeals court temporarily delayed a requirement for New York City school teachers and staff to get vaccinated just days before it was about to take effect. A hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 29.