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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-493-3909.
The writer represents the 117th District in the state Assembly.