Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have consistently argued against mandatory vaccinations. This is why I am opposed to the governor’s plan to mandate vaccinations for health care workers, stating they all must have the shot by Sept. 27 or risk losing their jobs.

During a time when we should be appreciative of our frontline workers, the governor and health commissioner want to punish those who fail to get the vaccine. This is a callous disregard for their freedom of choice and ability to make a living for their families.

In a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, my colleagues and I said the vaccine mandate could cause up to a 25% loss in the health care workforce. This loss would be due to unvaccinated workers outright quitting or being forced out by their bosses in accordance with the mandate.

The health care industry has had a long-standing problem with adequately staffing their facilities, even before the pandemic. What will happen when nearly a quarter of the workforce is forced out the door? How can New Yorkers who are truly sick and suffering receive expedient and quality health care?

Gov. Hochul has continuously talked about the mandate rather than providing alternatives to those who have their own legitimate concerns. There must be an opt-out program put into place so unvaccinated health care workers have the option to test regularly before entering hospitals, nursing homes or health care centers.

This alternative is not a pie-in-the-sky idea; it is the exact same plan afforded to those in the K-12 education system. Vaccine mandates are not the answer in this situation or any other setting; the negative effects, especially on our rural communities, far outweigh any potential benefit this administration sees.

If you have any questions on this issue, please feel free to reach out to my office at or 315-493-3909.

Kenneth Blankenbush

Black River

The writer represents the 117th District in the state Assembly.

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(5) comments


I appreciate the problem of losing healthcare workers over this issue. OTOH, those of us who are vaccinated are getting tired of bending over backward to accommodate the “freedom of choice” of those who nonsensically choose to not protect themselves.


I would also add, have people who won't vaccinate pay for the regular on going testing costs above what the vaccine cost. Recently a ant- vax person I know changed her very vocal opposition to having a vaccine shot when that person found out that her vacation plans could not go forward without getting vaccinated. So much for her principled and very vocal opposition to the Covid vaccine.

Joseph Savoca

There will be fewer " New Yorkers who are truly sick and suffering" with more people vaccinated. Problem solved.

hermit thrush

it is ridiculous that health care workers, of all people, won't get vaccinated.


1-Make non-vaccinated workers get tested weekly...2 - get temperature checked upon arrival at work each day...and 3 - increase the insurance premiums to cover their costs to our healthcare system ..... If they're willing to go through that they can work in the serving or education system..

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