Some health care workers hesitant ahead of deadline for COVID-19 vaccine
Some health care workers say they're still hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine despite the deadline for their first shot being Monday.
Jillian Kulesh is a registered nurse that told News 12 earlier this week she isn't getting vaccinated in defiance of New York's mandate. Her decision, and the decisions of many others, could put health care facilities across the state in a major staffing shortage.
On Long Island, 82% of hospital workers have completed their vaccine series as of last week. In Nassau, it's 84% and in Suffolk, it's 81%. Across the state, 84% of health care workers are vaccinated.
Jim Clyne, from Leading Age New York, represents nonprofit and government nursing homes. His members worry if there will be enough vaccinated staff to provide adequate care within a system already stretched to the breaking point.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement this weekend, "I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities."
Part of the plan would be declaring a state of emergency which would allow the hiring of out-of-state health care professionals, recent graduates and retirees.
It also would allow the state to send in the National Guard and possibly federal health care workers to help. Clyne hopes there will be a last minute run by workers to get vaccinated but will do what it takes to keep care levels up.
According to the state Department of Labor, health care workers who are terminated for not getting vaccinated won't be eligible for unemployment insurance if they don't have a medical exemption or doctor's note.