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Regional News

Hochul pleads with healthcare workers to get vaccinated before state deadline

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Office of the Governor
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Roughly 16% of New York’s healthcare workers will lose their jobs on Monday if they don’t get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by then. On Thursday, Governor Kathy Hochul pleaded with those workers to get vaccinated.

“It does not have to happen, my friends, it does not have to happen,” said Hochul. “What is looming for Monday is completely avoidable and there are no excuses.”

She said there’s only so much the state can do, and that these efforts fall primarily on the individual hospitals as major staffing cuts loom.

“First of all, God bless you for what you've been through… you know that all of us have a responsibility to make sure that our health care facilities are safe,” she said.

Central New York hospitals are pretty much on par with the state–averaging 85% of healthcare workers vaccinated. The lowest vaccination rate locally being at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where only 77% of its staff have received a complete vaccination series.

This deadline comes as the state faces a lawsuit regarding religious exemptions for a select few healthcare workers, but Hochul said that will have no impact on the overarching vaccine mandate that currently exists.

While Hochul has yet to announce plans to immediately address the upcoming staffing shortage hospitals will face, she has thrown around some long-term ideas.

“We're going to be continuing to find ways to adjust our licensing requirements so we can have out-of-state health care workers, but I have to take some other steps to make that happen,” said Hochul.

She’s also considering expediting visas to bring in international traveling nurses from places like the Philippines.