Vaccination mandate prompts thousands of New York health workers to get vaccinated

Officials praised the mandate’s success in increasing vaccination rates. When it was first announced by the then government. Andrew M. Cuomo on August 16, only 70 percent of nursing home staff had received at least one dose of vaccine and 77 percent of hospital staff were fully vaccinated.

In one shift, the governor’s office on Tuesday estimated the total number of hospital workers affected by the mandate at 519,000 nationwide, up from 450,000 when the mandate was announced.

“People on the fence are openly benefiting from these mandates to make that decision,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has also called for everyone who works in New York City public schools to see the next one receives at least one dose of vaccine on Monday.

While rates among health workers have been high overall, the low vaccination rates in some facilities are a warning. As of Sunday, fewer than 65 percent of employees in several nursing homes had received at least one dose of vaccine, including the Plaza Rehab and Nursing Center in the Bronx and the Hopkins Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Brooklyn, state data showed.

At the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, 20 percent of employees at the affiliated Terrace View nursing home were given unpaid leave on Monday for refusing to get vaccinated, a spokesman said. The hospital said it was doing its best to offset the decline by moving staff from other facilities, cutting beds in the nursing home, and suspending some elective surgery in the hospital.

The medical center had forecast 400 departures, but in the end only 276 unvaccinated workers were given leave. Nevertheless, the facility remained in crisis mode, because in the weeks before the mandate came into force, the hospital already had 400 vacancies and a record number of patients.

The hospital has problems, said Tom Quatroche, its president, because it has not been able to discharge patients to nursing homes and rehab centers who were suffering from staff shortages.

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